JEFFERSON CITY - Veterans who fought for their country's rights in the Vietnam War are now fighting for their right to bear arms through their support for a bill to prevent gun regulations from escalating to gun confiscation.
Three months after the Newtown, Conn. shooting, Missouri lawmakers are moving to defend the Second Amendment. Rep. Douglas Funderburk, R-St. Peters, sponsored a bill heard in the House General Laws Committee Wednesday, aimed at past, present and future federal gun regulations. The bill has the potential to pit federal and state law enforcement agents against each other, as it would be considered a felony to enforce these regulations in Missouri.
Funderburk "affectionately titled (the bill) my 'gun control nullification bill,'" although no nullification bill has been successful in the past.
Ron Calzone, Director of Missouri First, a group defending constitutional rights in Missouri, said that veterans' rights had already been violated by bureaucracy.
Calzone said medical personnel at Veteran Association hospitals would confiscate veteran-owned guns. Personnel would "designate them as incompetent," Calzone said. There's "no due process."
Several veterans spoke in support of the bill.
Michael Kilgus, a Vietnam veteran, said that veterans had been construed as "crazy vets," since coming back from the war and addressed the fact that veterans are trained to handle firearms.
"Yes, I used them to kill people, and no I'm not proud of it. And the one thing I can tell you is the odds of me going out and shooting somebody just because I'm angry or upset...it's never going to happen, because the last thing I ever want to do is have to look somebody in the eye and pull the trigger again," Kilgus said.
Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis City, was the only dissenting voice at the hearing. Colona asked Funderburk what would happen if a federal agent tried to confiscate a constituent's illegal firearm and the constituent called their local police.
"Is the city copper then supposed to say, 'No, it ain't gonna happen,' and then arrest the ATF agent or the FBI person?" Colona asked.
Although history does not favor nullification, as it was met with the threat of military force in 1828 and struck down by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, Funderburk said the federal government would realize the will of the people is more powerful than the sum of the federal government.
"In fact, it is the will of the states that even enables there to be a federal government," Funderburk said.
Funderburk's proposed bill is one of many bills proposed in the 2013 legislative session to oppose federal gun regulations. Similar to this bill, other bills would exempt firearms that are made and remain in Missouri from federal regulation, while others would make the enforcement of federal gun regulations in Missouri a crime. Missouri is one of many states to propose legislation calling into question the federal government's authority to regulate and state governments' ability to nullify.