by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. | The New American
“Move to Missouri!” That’s the message to gun manufacturers and distributors from Larry Pratt, the president of Gun Owners of America and Michael Evans, host of the America’s Voice Now radio show.
John Negri, a West Plains, Missouri, small business owner who listens to Evans’ show, made a remarkably generous announcement last week on the show that could make that happen.
Specifically, Evans says that Negri is offering exiled elements of the gun industry a free 20-year lease on any of three parcels of land. There is one catch: the offer is available only to gun manufacturers or distributors who have “publicly announced they’re leaving because of restrictive firearms regulations.”
The land consists of three parcels: six acres with railroad siding, 38 acres on a major interstate, and a 100-acre segment.
Evans reports that Negri first approached him with the idea last year after learning that several states — notably Connecticut, New York, and Maryland — were passing laws severely restricting the right of citizens of those states to keep and bear arms.
“There are three specific parcels of land and each manufacturer may have a different desire or need,” Evans explained to OzarksFirst.com. “So essentially what he’s offered is if a manufacturer chooses one of those parcels, they’re not all three up for grabs. Then he’ll provide a manufacturer who will bring a factory or manufacturing or a distribution plant here and provide for them to have a lease on that property. They would have to put up the building or do whatever it needs to do to be in operation, but they’re more than likely going to have to do that wherever they go.”
Larry Pratt recognizes the value of such an offer to an industry placed in the cross-hairs of the latest federal assault on freedom. This time, the target is the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
“It’s important for the firearms industry to know they are supported by the public and states that support our constitutional Second Amendment rights,” Pratt said. “GOA and America’s Voice Now have banded together to support our manufacturers and offer the firearms industry the welcoming arms of a community with skilled labor, low taxes, central locale and a smiling face.”
Likewise, Evans sees in Negri’s proposal a boon to manufacturers of weapons, ammunition, and component parts who are finding their former locations every day less and less hospitable.
“Many firearms manufacturers and distributors are handicapped by regulations, high taxes, and bans on the products they produce in states like New York, Connecticut, and Illinois,” he said.
In a conversation with The New American, Evans reports that in addition to considerable media interest in Negri’s offer, at least two firearm manufacturers have expressed interest in taking him up on it.
“Today, companies like Colt, Remington, Winchester, Armalite, Kimber, Henry, and Smith & Wesson are based in some of the nation’s most restrictive gun law states. Missouri is a firearms friendly state and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment to the Constitution,” Evans added.
As The New American has reported, the state legislature of Missouri recently sent a bill to Governor Jay Nixon.
Drawing substantially on the right of states to nullify federal overreaches as set out by James Madison in his Virginia Resolution of 1798, HB 436 reaffirms the right of Missouri — and all states — to hold as null, void, and of no legal effect any federal act that exceeds the narrow boundaries of the power granted the federal government by the states via the Constitution.
The text of the bill declares that the Missouri General Assembly is “firmly resolved to support and defend the United States Constitution against every aggression, either foreign or domestic.”
Section 2 of the bill goes on to affirm that not only is it the right of the state legislature to check federal overreaching, but that “the general assembly is duty bound to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the basis of the Union of the States, because only a faithful observance of those principles can secure the nation’s existence and the public happiness.”
HB 436 — the Second Amendment Preservation Act — opens with a brief recitation of the history of the creation of the federal government, a recounting that resounds with a firm grasp on the proper, constitutional relationship between state and federal governments, as well as the legal basis for nullification:
Acting through the United States Constitution, the people of the several states created the federal government to be their agent in the exercise of a few defined powers, while reserving to the state governments the power to legislate on matters which concern the lives, liberties, and properties of citizens in the ordinary course of affairs;
The limitation of the federal government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is reserved to the states respectively, or to the people themselves;
Whenever the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force;
The several states of the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their federal government. If the government created by the compact among the states were the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers granted to it by the Constitution, the federal government’s discretion, and not the Constitution, would be the measure of those powers.
Specifically, the bill denies to the federal government the authority to enact any statutes, rules, regulations, or executive orders “which restrict or prohibit the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition exclusively within the borders of Missouri.”
Laudably, the bill as amended by the state Senate does not back down from a fight with the federal government over the Second Amendment. Section 3 of the bill boldly asserts:
All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
Although Governor Nixon — a Democrat — has not announced whether he intends to sign or veto the bill, the state’s lieutenant governor, Pete Kinder, urged Nixon and the state legislature to support Negri’s generous gift aimed at attracting the firearms industry to the Show Me State.
“For years, some states that are home to gun manufacturers have continued to bite the hand that feeds them, passing laws to restrict firearms,” Kinder said in a press release provided to The New American. “Some of those companies now are deciding it’s time to pull out and move to more friendly pastures. I encourage Gov. Nixon and lawmakers to send a concerted message to these manufacturers: Missouri welcomes you.”
Given the significant — and well-deserved — heat Nixon is taking for giving the federal Department of Homeland Security a list of Missouri concealed carry permit holders, sources told The New American that there is a chance that the governor will let the 15-day statutory period pass, thus passively allowing the Second Amendment Preservation Act to become law without his signature.
Constitutionalists likewise welcome the praiseworthy efforts of state lawmakers, the Gun Owners of America, the America’s Voice Now radio program, Lt. Gov. Kinder, and John Negri to thwart the federal government’s plan to unconstitutionally restrict the right to keep and bear arms.