Judge Considers Rewrite of Missouri Gun Rights Amendment Summary

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
06/20/2014
       
Judge Considers Rewrite of Missouri Gun Rights Amendment Summary

A judge is considering demanding a rewrite of the summary of a proposed constitutional amendment in Missouri that will go before voters in an effort to shore up gun rights.

Some people are so determined to disarm Americans that they are willing to interfere with the electoral process and the republican principle of representative government.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and Rebecca Morgan, a member of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, have filed suit asking a judge to prevent Missouri election officials from sending out absentee ballots that include a constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms in the Show Me State.

Although Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem denied the pair’s request for a temporary restraining order on the distribution of the ballots, he did say he would consider ordering a rewrite of the summary of the proposed amendment. 

The election that includes the gun rights proposal is set for August 5, but absentee voting is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 24.

As drafted by the state legislature, the summary in question asks voters whether they want to amend the state constitution “to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”

On May 7, the state senate voted 23-8 to approve a bill that would allow voters to consider a proposed amendment to the November general election ballot that would shore up the Second Amendment in the Show Me State. By a vote of 122-31, the state House of Representatives passed the proposal the day before.

The bill, Senate Joint Resolution 36, declares:

That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. 

The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.

Ironically, the bill does permit the state legislature to infringe upon the right it declared “unalienable” just one paragraph earlier, preserving for itself the power to enact "general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

Supporters of the proposal praised legislators for their effort to protect this fundamental right. "The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and has been so since the founding of this country," state Representative Jay Barnes said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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