KC Mayor tells pro-gun MO Legislature to "go fly a kite"

The Kansas City Council had a vote yesterday whether to support the Missouri Legislature’s new gun law that allows people to “carry while intoxicated”, as long as they don’t use the firearm illegally, and the vote was 7-6 against.

The city ordinance was expected to pass, even though most people on the City Council thought it was a bad idea. The vote against the ordinance was led by Mayor Sly James, who reasoned that if the Missouri Legislature can tell the Federal Government to go fly a kite as far as enforcing Federal gun law, then the city is free to tell the state to go fly a kite when enforcing State gun law.

Link here, although the audio link on that page still links to yesterday’s story from before the vote. (The story I heard on the radio this morning had the “go fly a kite” quote in it – hopefully they update the audio link to the latest story.)

What a stupid law…I wasn’t aware of it until I heard the vote mentioned on KCUR yesterday morning.

Good for Mayor James.

If this idea, quoted from your source, is correct then I’m not sure the state or local ordinance amounts to a hill of beans:

If a constitutional right is protected whether or not one is intoxicated then the state law is redundant and the local ordinance is unenforceable. If not, it brings up some interesting situations - can one be barred from voting while intoxicated?

Wouldn’t it be easier to handle both situations under a “public drunkeness” code?

I can’t tell for sure from your post – do you endorse this reasoning?

Are you referring to the mayor’s or the state’s?

The reasoning I refer to is encapsulated in the quote I excised, specifically the words following the word “reasoned:”

…if the Missouri Legislature can tell the Federal Government to go fly a kite as far as enforcing Federal gun law, then the city is free to tell the state to go fly a kite when enforcing State gun law.

So both the mayor’s and the state’s reasoning is part of the equation, if you will.

I’m not really sure how the Missouri legislature told the federal government to go fly a kite in the first place, mind you, but that’s not really important to my question.

I don’t think the reasoning of the Mayor withstands scrutiny. If what the city council did was simply “endorse” or “disapprove” of the state law, then no big deal. But Missouri has firearm preemption, in that all local firearm laws are preempted by state law. The city can disapprove all it wants, but it makes no difference to the state law and the local gun laws are not enforceable.

You may not realize it, but federal law preempts state law. The state legislation (can’t call it a law, really) purporting to nullify federal law is in violation of the US Constitution, as any kid who passed civics can tell you with a laugh, so it was merely a show of childish petulance that is no more than a waste of time and taxpayer money, however well it plays to an ignorant populace.

You’re also missing the apparent point of the city ordinance, which was to shove that bit of ignorance back into the legislature’s faces. To go by the Nullification Doctrine (ah, for those grand old antebellum days …) that underlies the bill, a city has as much right to nullify the state as the state does to nullify the feds. Then you can get into neighborhoods, streets, households, and individuals all having the right to ignore laws they don’t like passed from above. See the problem? It’s not just unconstitutional, it’s stupid.

Does this make sense to you when you read it back to yourself? It makes no sense to me. The words are written in English, but the way you’ve constructed them together is baffling. Somehow it seems like you’re trying to disagree with something I wrote, but I’m not seeing it.

This was exactly the point I intended to make in the OP. Sorry, I was a bit rushed when I posted it earlier. Missouri passed (or attempted to pass) legislation basically saying that they were not going to enforce Federal gun laws and I think even went so far as to say that enforcing Federal gun laws in Missouri would be illegal.

So yeah first the stupidity that the state thinks they can trump the Feds, and then the awesomeness of the KC mayor turning it back around on them. It was refreshing to see a political figure say, in effect, “this gun law is stupid, and we’re not going to put up with it.” In fact, I found it a little scary that most if not all of the city council thought it was a bad law, but were prepared to pass it anyway.

What federal law makes it a crime to carry a firearm while intoxicated? Serious question - I know there are federal laws against convicted felons and users of illegal drugs possessing firearms, but I’m not aware of a federal law that makes it a crime for a person who is licensed to carry a firearm to carry while intoxicated. I thought all carry laws were at the state level.

Why do so many people think that the fact that they can’t understand something refutes it? Yes it makes perfect sense. It ought to, since it’s the same exact reasoning mentioned in the OP as being used by the opponents of the ordinance. The logic presented is pretty clear: Federal law preempts state law just as much as state law trumps city law. If a state can ignore federal law, then a city can ignore state law. This is the major flaw in the Nullification doctrine used to justify the state law.

Perhaps you are the one who should go back and read it again. If any part confuses you, you can ask for clarification on that part. Then, if you disagree, you can argue against it. Simply dismissing it as being confusing to you doesn’t wash.

So all it was was a bunch of dick wagging.

Okay, federal preempts state. But, as the state laws concerning cannabis seem to indicate, states can say FU to the fed. Or, at least, you enforce these laws; we won’t.

I guess sooner or later there will have to be a national referendum on cannabis, unless … okay, how does the fed gov repeal an existing law? Legislature passes a bill for the Executive to sign or veto?

I thought that’s what I did. Is anything I wrote previously being disagreed with? If not how is the response related to what I wrote?

The idea that if state trumps federal than city must trump state is simplistic and laughable. The law in question is different in each case - federal gun law vs intoxication while in possession. Federal law is silent on whether you can be intoxicated while in possession. The state law here is not in conflict at all. in addution - the grounds for nullification by a state rely on the actual constitutiom anda challenge to the expansion of the commerce clause ( i dont subscribe to this argument but find it interesting ). The grounds for the city trying g to trump the state are what? How are these things similar again?

This type of response only makes sense if ignorant of the underlying issues.

I’m not finding any such law. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(3) prohibits transfer to anyone who “is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802))”, and (g)(3) of that same subsection prohibits “ship(ing) or transport(ing) in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce” anyone who “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));”.

However, alcohol is not scheduled under the section of the Controlled Substances Act which is mentioned.

The municipal v state relationship is wholly unlike the state v. federal relationship.

States have plenary power subject only to the limited grants of power outlined in the constitution that the federal government has been specifically given (in theory). If the feds go too far, it is at minimum a reasonable argument for a state to claim that the law is void as a usurpation of its plenary power.

A city has no such argument. A city has no reserved powers or plenary police power. It is wholly a creation of the state and may only pass such ordinances that the state gives it power to pass. For the mayor to try to get a gotcha on the state legislature in this way shows a very poor understanding of our system of government.

What does he plan to do? Arrest intoxicated people carrying firearms? Under what authority? If he is serious about this and not just engaging in a political stunt, he had better make sure the city’s insurance policy has been paid against the upcoming lawsuits.

A lot of places you are not supposed to go into bars.

If you drink at home & then go outside, are you breaking a CCL law?

Do we go with the same level of alcohol in the system as we do for driving, or do we have it tighter or looser?

The Missouri law that allows people to carry guns while intoxicated–or rather, I strongly suspect, the lack of a Missouri law that forbids people from carrying guns while intoxicated*–is not in conflict with any federal law.
*It may even be that a previous Missouri law that prohibited people from carrying guns while intoxicted was recently repealed. But I doubt there’s actually a Missouri law that says “It’s OK to carry guns while you’re drunk!”

However, the Missouri legislature is apparently contemplating a bill to (among other things) “declare federal laws that the state considers infringements on gun rights to be null and void” and subject federal agents enforcing such laws to be subect to state civil and criminal penalties.

Meanwhile, Missouri (like most states) has what’s called “preemption” regarding firearms laws: while local governments often retain some power to regulate things like discharging firearms within city limits (unless actually in self-defense), in most states they may not pass laws regulating the sale, purchase, possession, or carrying of firearms, those things being exclusively the province of the state government, and therefore subject in most states to a uniform statewide legal framework.

So, Kansas City, Missouri, was advised by its city attorney that they needed to ditch their municipal ordinance against carrying a firearm while intoxicated, as it’s in conflict with Missouri’s state preemption of firearms regulations. However, the city council–apparently partly in reaction to the Lege’s grandstanding on nullification of federal laws–narrowly voted not to bring their municipal ordinances in line with state law.

I don’t really think a law against carrying while drunk is a grave injustice, although I do think state preemption with respect to firearms laws is generally a good thing. But even apart from the wisdom of not having a law against carrying a firearm while intoxicated, I can kind of see why the K.C. city council might be pretty cheesed off at the Missouri Lege: If you oppose gun rights, then of course the Missouri Lege’s nullification bill is bad, but I would say even if you support gun rights, these nullification bills (in Missouri and in other states where they’ve cropped up) are just pointless grandstanding that doesn’t really do diddly-squat to actually protect any gun owner’s rights. And, while the relationship between the United States federal government and the state governments is not the same as the relationships between the state governments and their municipalities and local governments, it does smack of hypocrisy for the Missouri Lege to be playing constitutional chicken with the feds while at the same time wanting to uphold their own state constitutional supremacy over the local governments.

jtgain, in post #17, highlights the precise error in your thoughts. Federal law only preempts state law in areas where the federal government has preemption power.

There are two broad categories of federal preemption: express and implied. Congress EXPRESSLY preempts state law where they clearly and unambiguously evince the intent to do so. The courts analyze preemption by beginning “…with the assumption that the historic police powers of the States were not to be superseded by the Federal Act unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” (Quoting Rice v. Santa Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U. S. 218 (1947).)

Federal legislation can also be IMPLIED to preempt state law. This in turn has two flavors: conflict preemption occurs when state and federal laws directly conflict, such that it’s not possible to obey both. Field preemption happens when, even though there is no conflict, Congress creates a far-reaching and complete regulatory scheme, supporting the inference that Congress intended to be the final word.

What kind of federal preemption are you thinking is in play here, BigT?