Senate Defeats Gun Bill: HB 436
(Jefferson City, Sept. 11, 2013) — On Wednesday night the Missouri Senate came within one vote of overriding Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of House Bill 436, the gun bill.
The vote was 22-12, with 23 votes needed for the override. The Senate vote killed the bill.
Earlier Wednesday afternoon the Missouri House of Representatives had cast 109 votes (the minimum required) to override the Governor’s veto.
The Missouri Press Association (MPA) thanks the leadership of the Senate, President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) and Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin), and all 10 Senate Democrats for voting against the override, said Doug Crews, MPA executive director.
The Republican leaders, Dempsey and Richard, joined the 10 Senate Democrats to cast the dissenting votes needed to defeat the override attempt.
The House began debate on HB 436 shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Rep. Doug Funderburk (R-St. Peters), sponsor of HB 436, and other supporters of the override centered their criticism on Attorney General Chris Koster (D), who last week issued a letter citing constitutional problems with the legislation.
Supporters of the veto, including Rep. Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) and Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City), noted the First Amendment concerns that had been cited by the Governor when he vetoed the bill and by the Missouri Press Association on Sept. 5 when its board voted to file a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds if HB 436 became law.
The bill would have made it a crime for anyone to publish the name of a gun owner. Missouri Press Association’s opposition to the bill was narrowly focused on the "publishing" point, Crews said.
During floor debate, Rep. Schupp said the National Rifle Association lobbyist had told her HB 436 "was never intended to pass" the General Assembly.
The NRA was "neutral" on HB 436, Rep. Doug Funderburk (R-St. Peters), sponsor of the bill, told House members during debate.
In addition to Attorney General Koster, opposition to the bill had come from various Missouri law enforcement organizations concerned the bill would nullify federal firearms laws and would interfere with law enforcement operations, both major discussion issues in the House and Senate during debate Wednesday.
The House debate ended after 50 minutes, and the 109-49 vote was announced at 4:56 p.m. (Three representatives voted "present" and one representative was absent.)
When word of the House override reached the Senate, members of that chamber caucused in private before returning to the Senate floor. HB 436 was taken up at 6:55 p.m. by Sen. Brian Nieves (R-Washington), who had handled the bill this year in the Senate.
Sen. Nieves criticized Attorney General Koster and his opinion of the bill during floor debate, calling Koster a "liar" several times.
After debate of 80 minutes, the Senate voted 22-12, defeating the override attempt and killing the bill.
"The Missouri constitution and the U.S. constitution won today," said MPA’s Doug Crews. "House Bill 436 had constitutional problems, and we are pleased with the action in the Senate.
"Missouri Press Association thanks those House and Senate members who voted to sustain the Governor’s veto," he said.
"Anyone who published the name of a gun owner could have been charged with a misdemeanor, and with gun permit records closed to the public in Missouri, how is anyone supposed to know who is a gun owner? The names of gun owners have never been open records to be shared publicly by Missouri government agencies.
"When the bill passed the General Assembly in May, its unintended consequences simply were not considered by many lawmakers," Crews added.
Below are the roll call votes in the House and Senate on HB 436.
AYES, 109 to override: Allen, Anderson, Austin, Bahr, Bernskoetter, Berry, Brattin, Brown, Burlison, Cierpiot, Conway (District 104), Cookson, Cornejo, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Diehl, Dohrman, Dugger, Elmer, Engler, Entlicher, Fitzpatrick, Fitzwater, Flanigan, Fowler, Fraker, Frame, Franklin, Frederick, Funderburk, Gannon, Gatschenberger, Gosen, Grisamore, Guernsey, Haahr, Haefner, Hampton, Hansen, Harris, Hicks, Hinson, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Hurst, Johnson, Jones (50), Justus, Keeney, Kelley (127), Koenig, Kolkmeyer, Korman, Lair, Lant, Lauer, Leara, Lichtenegger, Love, Lynch, Marshall, McCaherty, McGaugh, Messenger, Miller, Molendorp, Moon, Morris, Muntzel, Neely, Neth, Parkinson, Pfautsch, Phillips, Pike, Pogue, Redmon, Rehder, Reiboldt, Remole, Rhoads, Richardson, Riddle, Ross, Rowden, Rowland, Scharnhorst, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Shull, Shumake, Solon, Sommer, Spencer, Stream, Swan, Thomson, Walker, White, Wieland, Wilson, Wood, Zerr, Speaker Tim Jones.
NOES, 49: Anders, Barnes, Black, Burns, Butler, Carpenter, Colona, Conway (10), Curtis, Dunn, Ellinger, Ellington, English, Englund, Gardner, Hodges, Hubbard, Hummel, Kelly (45), Kirkton, Kratky, LaFaver, May, McCann Beatty, McDonald, McKenna, McManus, McNeil, Meredith, Mims, Mitten, Montecillo, Morgan, Nichols, Norr, Otto, Pace, Peters, Pierson, Rizzo, Runions, Schupp, Smith, Swearingen, Torpey, Walton Gray, Webb, Webber, Wright.
Present, 3: Higdon, Mayfield, Roorda.
Absent with leave, 1: Newman.
YEAS, 22 to override veto: Brown, Cunningham, Dixon, Emery, Kehoe, Kraus, Lager, Lamping, Libla, Munzlinger, Nieves, Parson, Pearce, Romine, Rupp, Sater, Schaaf, Schaefer, Schmitt, Silvey, Wallingford, Wasson.
NAYS, 12: Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Dempsey, Holsman, Justus, Keaveny, LeVota, McKenna, Nasheed, Richard, Sifton, Walsh.
Absent with leave, 0.