The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 21, 2013

Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Legislators’ response is ‘finger’ to the feds

By Anson Burlingame
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — My jaw dropped when I read the proposed bill in the Missouri House related to gun control, and the fact that you two support that bill, right out of the gate so to speak. Astounding to me.

We have learned long ago that state law cannot violate federal law, period. To put citizens at risk of violating one set of laws while enforcing another set is just ridiculous. If you honestly believe a federal law violates states’, rights, the way to fix it is through courts, not in-your-face (to the federal government) legislation.

We know what President Obama proposes to do about gun control. Well, don’t let him do it by democratically and legally controlling the power of the federal government.

It seems that some Missouri legislators are simply trying to childishly pass a bill that, in effect, gives a “finger” to the federal government. Not only is it childish, it is against the law for a state to directly contradict a federal law and will wind up in courts, a battle that states lose all the time.

You, as legislators, can do something about pending federal law. Some states have figured out how to legally do so in the marijuana debate. Pass a law saying exactly what is legal according to state sentiments, but don’t try to contradict federal law by making it illegal. If you don’t want background checks, fine. Pass a state law saying vendors are not required to conduct them. But don’t take it the next step saying conducting a background check is illegal.

If I can figure that one out as only a private citizen then “wise legislators” should be able to do so as well.

I understand what you are saying as politicians. But that is not why you are being paid out of my taxes. You are being paid to govern wisely. Telling the federal government to “stick it” is not governing — it is catering to the base instincts of popular sentiment, in Missouri, but not throughout all of the United States.

Anson Burlingame lives in Joplin.