by Kevin McDermott (StL.Today)
JEFFERSON CITY • In what has become a regular ritual here, a state Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would prevent Sharia Law from taking over Missouri.
The Senate General Laws committee also discussed a measure that would outlaw any federal attempts to regulate firearms in Missouri.
The committee hasn’t acted on either measure, and both appear unlikely to have much chance at becoming law. But they both touch on some of the hottest ideological issues in the nation right now.
“They should call that the Tea Party Committee,” Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, a committee member, scoffed as she left the hearing.
Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who acknowledged that Missouri isn’t in any immediate danger of being overtaken by foreign legal theories. But he said he wants to make sure the state “keeps things the way they are.”
“Missouri’s been pretty fortunate as far as this goes,” Nieves told the committee.
The bill doesn’t specifically mention the Islamist Sharia religious law. But more than 20 states have considered similar measures in the past few years, generally tied to the ongoing debate over alleged Islamist influences in the U.S.
There’s no current mechanism under which a foreign law could apply in Missouri.
The second bill would make it illegal for any government official to attempt to enforce any federal firearms regulation in Missouri.
Nieves said the point of the bill is to “remove some of the confusion about what is or is not enforceable in term of the federal government in the state of Missouri in terms of our Second Amendment rights.”
“I think it’s timely right now,” he said. “Our Second Amendment is one of the main things being threatened.”
Gun-rights advocates have rallied nationally against talk of new federal controls in the wake of the killings of 20 children at six adults by a single gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December.
No one gave verbal testimony against either bill. Nasheed, the St. Louis Democrat, later predicted that both were dead on arrival.
“You don’t have foreign laws being implemented in the United States . . . (and) the state cannot trump federal law” on gun regulation, she said after the hearing. She called the debates “a waste of time and taxes.”
The foreign laws bill is SB267. The anti-gun-control bill is SB325.