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Missouri bill that nixed fed gun laws vetoed

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By The Associated Press
Friday, July 5, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Friday that would have made it a crime for federal agents to attempt to enforce federal gun laws in Missouri and could have landed journalists in jail for publishing the names of gun owners in the state.

The Democratic governor said the bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature violated the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which gives preference to federal laws over conflicting state ones. He said it also infringed on the First Amendment rights of free speech and press.

Some supporters of the legislation had proclaimed it one of the most gun-friendly bills ever passed by a state legislature. Nixon, however, said it could have had extreme consequences.

“Under this bill, newspaper editors around the state that annually publish photos of proud young Missourians who harvest their first turkey or deer could be charged with a crime,” the governor said in a written statement announcing the veto.

Legislators would need a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to override Nixon's veto when they return to session in September. The bill passed in May with bipartisan support. For an override to succeed in the House, Republicans would need to secure 109 votes, the exact number of Republican lawmakers in that chamber.

House Speaker Tim Jones said Friday that he was “shocked and astounded” by the veto.

“I believe a supermajority of Missourians want us to override this bill,” said Jones, R-Eureka, but he added that a decision on whether to try won't be made before next month.

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