So here’s one indication into the 2014 dynamic of the gun control issue across America…enter “The Show Me” State of Missouri and two legislators whom seemingly come from opposite sides of the political spectrum despite both being Senators. Which one wins could very well spell out how the future of gun rights in Missouri falls, and whichever legislation carries the day will impact everyone’s gun rights in the State.
On one side of the debate is State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D), representative from District 14 in the greater Saint Louis metro region. Previously, she introduced Missouri State Senate Bill 124, however it failed to gain any traction in 2013 and failed. In an interview she replied,
“I am not trying to take away the gun rights of any parents or any other citizens. I believe in the Second Amendment. (Matthews)
Chappelle-Nadal insisted she was trying to stop school violence and crimes like carjacking. Now, she has proposed Missouri State Senate Bill 549 that could take effect on August 28th, 2014 and proposes up to a $100 fine on parents who fail to report to schools what firearms are located in the homes of students, and if they are “negligently stored”. The bill itself includes the following,
“This act requires a parent or guardian to notify a school district, or the governing body of a private or charter school, that he or she owns a weapon within 30 days of enrolling the child in school or becoming the owner of a weapon. The written notification only needs to include the names of the parent and any child attending the school and the fact that the parent owns a weapon. Failure to notify the school under this act is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $100. If a person is found guilty of negligent storage of a weapon and has failed to notify the school of weapon ownership, the person must be fined $1,000 in addition to any other penalties authorized by law.” (Chappelle-Nadal)
Basically, in my view Chappelle-Nadal’s logic is outright flawed from the beginning because it assumes that all parents, both those who abide by the law and legally own firearms – and those who don’t, will submit to registration throughout the State. This despite the fact that while she guises SB 549 as effort to dissuade firearms access by minors and deter drive by shootings, the only locations in Missouri where these are a major problems is in the metro regions of Jefferson City and Saint Louis where crime rates are much higher than rural regions. And lastly, the requirement that all firearms be stored in a “non-negligent” manner means that gun owners would be subject to home inspections either by school officials or law enforcement simply on the basis that their children attend schools. While it is unlikely this bill offers any real substantive chance in passing, the fact that State officials would even consider this bill shows their true intentions against the 2nd Amendment and how out of touch they are with their overall constituents.
Oppositely, State Senator Brian Nieves (R), has filed Missouri State Senate Bill 613, otherwise known as the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act. Previously Senator Nevins attempted a similar action in 2013 and despite passage of SB 325 in the Senate, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the legislation wherein the subsequent attempted override failed by merely one vote. Now SB 613 would effectively nullify every federal gun control measure stating,
“All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this State, shall not be recognized by this State, shall be specifically rejected by this State, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this State.” (Nieves)
The bill goes on to effectively ban all State employees (specifically law enforcement) from enforcing any federal gun control acts that would run counter to SB 613; and in my view it effectively follows James Madison’s advice in The Federalist Papers #46 with refusing to cooperate with officers of the Union, and making enforcement of gun laws the responsibility of the federal government. SB613 also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates State law, of course within the “discretion” of State law enforcement officials.
So while some States like New York, California, Colorado, and others are decidedly turning anti-gun; many others like Texas, Wyoming, and others are doing everything within their State Powers to guarantee a citizen’s 2nd Amendment rights. Places like Missouri reflect the national divide between pro-gun and pro-regulation parties and wolves on both sides will do whatever they can to persuade the sheep to their side. Indeed 2014 will shape up to be even more contentious than before, and we must all take whatever measures to be involved and ensure our voices are heard when such measures come up for a vote. Get informed, get involved, and stay active.
Chappelle-Nadal. “SB 549.” 8 January 2014. Missouri State Senate. 14 January 2014 <http://www.senate.mo.gov/14info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=27723504>.
Matthews, Elizabeth. Proposed Mo. bill: Make parents tell school if they own guns. 22 January 2013. 14 January 2014 <http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/358395/3/Mo-proposal-makes-parents-tell-schools-about-gun-supply>.
Nieves, Brian. “Second Amendment Preservation Act.” 6 December 2013. Missouri State Senate. 14 January 2014 <http://www.senate.mo.gov/14info/pdf-bill/intro/SB613.pdf>.