UPDATE: Missouri Senate backs off reporting of stolen guns

Monday, February 17, 2014 | 8:08 p.m. CST; updated 6:54 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 18, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate has removed a provision from a broad gun rights measure that would have required stolen firearms to be reported to law enforcement.

Senators voted 22-9 late Monday night to strip the provision after the National Rifle Association announced its opposition to the bill.

The provision would have required gun owners to report a missing weapon within 72 hours of learning about a theft. The NRA says that would have created a gun-owner registry, but the sponsoring Senate Democrat said it would help curb urban violence.

The broader bill seeks to nullify some federal gun control laws and impose penalties on federal agents who enforce them. But courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal law.

The legislation needs one more vote in the Senate before moving to the House.

The Republican-led Senate approved the provision last week, but it reconsidered its stance after the NRA posted a notice on its website calling on senators to oppose the Second Amendment Preservation Act.

Senate Republicans argued Monday that it was unfair to require stolen firearms to be reported when state law doesn't require the same for many other thefts. The NRA had not weighed in on the issue until the Senate adopted an amendment by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D–St. Louis. 

In its online notice last week, the NRA said it has consistently opposed such measures, which the organization said could lead to a gun-owner registry by having owners tell police when guns are missing.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Brian Nieves, R–Washington, said the organization "misfired" on its opposition to the bill and is wrong about its characterization of the amendment. But he ultimately supported stripping the provision because the state doesn't require many other thefts to be reported.

The NRA said failing to report a stolen firearm would subject owners to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine and the loss of their concealed weapons permit. But those penalties weren't included in Nasheed's amendment.

The amendment had been added to a broader measure that seeks to nullify some federal gun control laws and impose possible civil fines or charges on federal agents enforcing such laws. However, courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal law.

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