The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation to nullify federal gun-control laws.
The language in this year's Senate version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act has been toned down a bit. It would still nullify federal gun restrictions in Missouri, and it would charge federal officers who try to enforce those restrictions with a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. But language providing for armed school personnel has been changed to allow school districts to choose pepper spray instead of guns. That provision was sponsored by state Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City.
"This amendment strikes a balance by allowing lethal and non-lethal options, and (by allowing) the parents to weigh in on that option, when the school board makes that choice," Holsman said.
The amendment was part of a compromise reached between Holsman and the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo.
"It's a perfect example of two senators, who oftentimes don't agree, being able to figure out a way to work like gentlemen and come to some sort of resolution," Nieves said.
Another amendment, sponsored by state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, would require gun owners
to police within 72 hours if someone steals their weapons. That addition was paired with another, stating that if the bill becomes law and is later ruled unconstitutional, the 72-hour period could be "severed" from the rest of the bill and remain on the books.
State Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, tried twice to add language to shield state and local law officers from jail and fines if they assisted federal officers in enforcing federal gun laws. Nieves condemned that language.
"In essence, what this is doing is completely reversing everything in the bill that we're debating," Nieves said. "This nullifies the nullification of the nullification bill…this is probably the worst possible amendment that we could look at."
Both attempts to exempt state and local officers from penalties for enforcing federal gun laws failed. Other provisions in the bill would lower the age to get a conceal-carry permit from 21 to 19, bar medical personnel from documenting whether a patient owns a firearm, and make it a crime for someone illegally in the United States to possess a firearm within Missouri's borders.
The measure needs one more vote by the full Senate before moving to the Missouri House.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport