The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 10, 2013

Sen. Richard: ‘No’ to veto override on gun nullification measure

Enacting a bill to nullify federal gun laws in Missouri would put state law enforcement “in a hell of a mess,” Sen. Ron Richard said Tuesday.

Richard, R-Joplin, who is Senate majority floor leader, voted for the measure when it passed in the General Assembly’s regular session. But he said he will not vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill.

The measure passed by significant margins in the general session, but Richard said he believes other lawmakers also are having second thoughts.

“The attorney general made some valid points about its constitutionality,” he said. “And after reflecting, reading it again, and talking to a lot of people including those in law enforcement, I’m not sure Missouri needs to be the only state in the union to impose this unconstitutional bill.”

Richard said officials in law enforcement with whom he talked were uneasy with a law that would nullify federal gun laws in the state and would make it a crime for federal agents to enforce them in Missouri.

“They said, ‘You’re going to force us to arrest an FBI agent,’” he said. “That’s not going to work.”

The senator, who earlier was speaker in the House of Representatives, said he did not regret votes to pass the initial measure, which he said “makes a statement the feds need to stay out of state business.”

Richard said he supports the effort to override Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253, a tax-cut bill supported by groups including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Nixon has campaigned throughout the state in support of his veto, arguing that revenue cuts would hurt funding for education, mental health and other services.

Richard said that if the measure reaches the Senate, he will vote to override. But he said action must come first in the House, where it does not appear that the votes are sufficient for an override. It takes a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override a veto.

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