While states like California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington D.C. rush to strip their citizens of their Constitutionally ensured 2nd Amendment (2A) rights, places like Missouri and others are moving quickly to protect it. Recently, state legislators passed a bill effectively making it illegal for federal law officials to enforce gun control measures deemed “infringements on the right to keep and bear arms” by the state and were inalienable.
On February 11th, the Missouri Senate passed SB 613, otherwise known as the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, proposed under Sen. Brian Nieves (R) that was modeled after last year’s SB 325 and then vetoed by the Democratic Governor Jay Nixon despite passing both houses and falling only a few votes shy of an override. Citing Missouri’s state constitution and the 10th Amendment, Nieves says SB 613 would protect law-abiding gun owners from federal encroachments to the 2A because federal laws that restrict the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms exceed the scope of the federal government’s authority on a state. The Republican legislature began pushing the 2A issue following President Obama’s 2013 call for increased background checks and registrations/restrictions. I’ve previously written on SB 613 when it was proposed and illustrated how it would impact federal regulations here.
Also added to the SB 613 was the ability for MO schools the option to designate trained personnel to carry concealed firearms in public school buildings. Not surprisingly, SB 613’s long time detractor Sen. Jamaal Nasheed, (D) – Saint Louis, initially voted against the measure during committee citing more guns in schools would only increase the current level of violence,
I cannot support this legislation in good conscience. Kids are killing kids in school. (Associated Press)
An amendment was added by Rep. Jason Holsmen, (D) – Kansas City, that attempted to mollify the issue by requiring school districts to hold a public meeting prior to allowing such personnel to carry in schools hoping it would cause districts to think twice. Not to be outdone, Nasheed add a second amendment that would require gun owners to report the theft of any firearm to law enforcement within 72 hours of discovery of the crime, something that would require recording a weapon’s serial number to be maintained by police – so basically a defacto registration.
A final amendment was also added to SB 613 that will enable concealed permit owners to openly carry, even in buildings where local ordinances ban it. It also lowers the minimum age for applying for a CCW permit from 21 down to 19, and mental health care providers would not be required to ask verbally or in documentation if the patient was a gun owner.
For the most part, special interest groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) remained quiet during the formulation of SB 613, however when Nasheed included her amendment it immediately called for the opposition to SB 613 citing,
This modified anti-gun language would require every person to report the theft of a firearm they possess to a local law enforcement agency. Any missing firearm must be reported within 72 hours of the time he or she knew or “reasonably should have known” that the firearm had been stolen.
Those who are unable to report a lost or stolen firearm within this arbitrary amount of time, would be subject to penalties including: a $1,000 fine, Class A misdemeanor and the loss of their Right to Carry Permit. Victims of gun theft should not be punished further by being prosecuted for such a “crime.” Police resources should be focused on finding the real criminals responsible, not further victimizing those who have had not only their belongings stolen, but their sense of security and privacy as well.” (Wolverton)
Naturally, Nieves and Nasheed appeared in a joint press conference after the vote where he said he thinks the NRA may have misinterpreted the amendment’s language with a more restrictive proposal made by Nasheed in a separate bill. Nieves maintained his bill never had any language in the amendments that would impose monetary penalties or require people to report lost firearms, only stolen ones thus their opposition was unjust. The NRA maintained the recording of people who have to report stolen firearms is still a defecto registry and must be opposed, but even Nasheed said that is a “myth”. Nieves acknowledged,
It’s not that I’m raising this amendment on a flagpole and saying it’s the greatest thing in the world”. (Mitchell) He added it is very rare that he and Nasheed agree on many issues saying that for SB 613 both sides of the aisle must work together.
He finished by saying he would not fight to keep Nasheed’s amendment on the bill if it goes to a committee (which he later doubted would make it into the bill’s final language). By February 18th, SB 613 was called for a final vote where Republicans opted 22-9 to remove Nasheed’s amendment and pass the bill. While Nasheed was understandably frustrated Nieves released a statement criticizing the negative influence of the NRA’s erroneous position saying,
My opinion [or view] of the NRA has been damaged tremendously in this process. Unfortunately, the NRA seems to be of the opinion that they don’t have to tell the truth about things. They don’t have to address things from the position of reality. Instead all they have to do is flex their muscles.
As Nasheed argued her point prior to the line-item veto removing her amendment, she had an exchange with Sen. Rob Schaaf (R) of St. Joseph, MO., (after he moved to reconsider his vote).
It’s because the NRA paid off the opposition to the amendment. That’s why. You and many of those other senators that voted on this bill are not free thinkers. (Shorman)
If SB 613 follows the same path as its predecessor, this time without language specifically targeting federal gun control laws that Governor Nixon found so “offensive”, hopefully he will observe the Will of the People and sign SB 613 into law when it comes to his desk. Following the removal of her amendment, Nasheed relented saying the overall bill’s passage was doomed in the courts.
Honestly these are the measures we in the gun community need to see and support more of. I recognize that there are many…many, who like the NRA froth when anything anti-gun comes up and are more than willing to bed down with the wolves. But unless we as pro-gun citizens actively engage with politicians who do support 2A rights, then we are in essence all sheep advocating our rights to be legislated without our voice. The passage of SB 613 demonstrates that although compromises in the political process can be messy, the war to defend the 2A is continual as Nasheed and others will try to undermine them. It is an ongoing struggle that requires the “long” perspective, not the myopic view that there can be no compromise aside from the Left’s unrealistic “No Guns, ever. Period” and the extreme Right’s “doomsday civil war” scenario. Since the federal government has green-lighted states to formulate their individual gun control measures, we can see in places like New York and Connecticut exactly what happens when gun owners do little to participate in defining their Constitutional rights over time until it’s too late. Be vigilant, stay informed, and be active so that similar measures as seen in Missouri’s “Show Me State” can take root elsewhere.
Associated Press. “Senate House of Representatives Defense Judiciary Scandals Elections Congress To-Do List Missouri Senate endorses bill that would nullify federal gun laws.” 12-February 2014. Fox News. 12-February 2014 <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/12/missouri-senate-endorses-bill-that-would-nullify-federal-gun-laws/>.
Mitchell, Josh. “Nieves Asks NRA to Correct ‘Untruths’ on Gun Bill Amendment.” 15-February 2014. The Missourian: State News. 15-February 2014 <http://www.emissourian.com/news/state/article_bb2160da-95b8-11e3-a390-001a4bcf887a.html>.
Shorman, Jonathan. “Missouri Senate bows to NRA pressure, changes bill.” 18 February 2014. USA Today. 18 February 2014 <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/02/18/stolen-gun-amendment-stripped/5576677/>.
Wolverton, Joe. “Missouri, Arizona Move on Measures Nullifying Fed Gun Grab.” 13-February 2014. The New American. 13-February 2014 <http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/17615-missouri-arizona-move-on-measures-nullifying-fed-gun-grab>.