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Saturday, 03 September 2016

Missouri State Lawmakers Asked to Overcome Veto of Pro-Gun Bill

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On September 14, lawmakers in Missouri will convene in the state capital of Jefferson City to vote on overriding the governor’s veto of a bill protecting the right of Missourians to keep and bear arms in their own defense.

The act supports the Second Amendment in several key ways: 

A so-called “stand your ground” provision allows residents to “use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person”;

“Open carrying of a firearm may not be prohibited”;

“No person carrying a concealed or unconcealed handgun may be disarmed or physically restrained by a law enforcement officer unless under arrest or if there is no reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity”;

“[It] allows a school district to designate one or more school teachers or administrators…to carry a concealed firearm”;

“[N]o licensed health care professional or person under the supervision of the professional may be required by law to ask a patient whether he or she owns or has access to a firearm, document firearm ownership or access in a patient's medical records, or notify any governmental entity of the identity of a patient based solely on the patient's status as a firearm owner or the patient's access to a firearm.”

The last item in that list is critical given the provisions of the ObamaCare statutes that direct doctors to enquire into the presence of firearms in patients’ homes, in the name of keeping them safe.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and soda censor, has invested millions in Missouri convincing voters to encourage their representatives to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill passed unanimously by the state Senate and overwhelmingly by the state House of Representatives earlier this year.

As reported by the NRA:

Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, has been hard at work across the U.S. advocating for the harshest gun control laws that they can get away with.  This September, they have their sights set on preventing the override of SB 656. 

Everytown recently funded a misleading poll in Missouri with the express intent of spreading misinformation about SB 656, claiming that it will remove the concealed carry permitting system.  SB 656 will not remove the current concealed carry permitting system, and any claim that it would is patently false.

According to a report published in the Missouri Times, Bloomberg’s group, in tandem with Moms Demand Action (an anti-gun rights group) feel confident that they have a good chance of convincing a sufficient number of senators to flip their votes.

“It was really great with being able to tell senators and our reps that moms, since we saw them during the legislative session this winter, we have been expanding like wild, having meetings all over the state,” said Kristin Bowen, a volunteer with the group. “Not just in places like Columbia and St. Louis, but Cape Girardeau and Warrensburg and that we are having meetings in their districts and getting people together to get active and call their legislators. Some of them said, ‘yes, I’ve heard from you.’ And so it’s working and that was great.”

More than just being heard, the moms received some validation that their efforts were paying off.

“We spoke with a couple of Republicans who think that in the Senate there’s a decent chance that the governor’s veto will be upheld,” Bowen said. “That was very encouraging.”

Should the veto be upheld, the natural right of Missourians to keep and bear arms and to defend themselves against aggressors will be abridged, something to which the citizens of the Show Me State are becoming accustomed.

In 2013, by a tally of 22-12, a vote in the state senate fell one senator short of the two-thirds necessary to override Nixon’s veto of a bill that would have nullified federal attempts to infringe on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. 

The Founders understood that the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property was dependent upon the ability to protect those “unalienable rights” from being stolen by the state and, in the end, being armed was the only sure way to stave off servitude. 

Consider this gem from William Blackstone, a man of immense and undeniable influence on the Founders and their understanding of rights, civil and natural.

In Volume I of his Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone declares “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

St. George Tucker was a patriot and friend of Thomas Jefferson. During the War for Independence (there was no revolution in America; there was a restoration), Tucker, on the order of Governor Patrick Henry, smuggled weapons into Virginia for use by the state's militia. During that war, Tucker himself served in the militia of the Old Dominion, leading several raids on the British invaders.

After the war, Tucker became a judge — first serving as a circuit judge and later as a federal judge appointed by President James Madison. It was during his work as a jurist that Tucker wrote commentaries on the work of William Blackstone, applying analogies from that inimitable work to the Constitution of the United States.

After quoting the Second Amendment, Tucker wrote the following, identifying the reason the right to keep and bear arms was considered sacrosanct by the men of the Founding Generation:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defence [sic] is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour [sic] or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

Any pretext whatsoever. That is pretty plain language — language that doesn't seem to lend itself to the strained and self-serving (mis)interpretation by those who would prohibit liberty.

The purpose of bearing arms — the ultimate purpose — was then and had been throughout history, to defend oneself against tyrants. This, our Founders believed, was the "first law of nature." Maintaining liberty was believed by them to be a Christian obligation, and that duty was discharged fully and finally only by a people armed and able to defeat despots.

In a few days, lawmakers in Missouri will demonstrate the strength of their devotion to preserving the right of their constituents to be armed and to use those arms in their defense and the defense of others.

Perhaps all these state representatives need to nudge them in the direction of negating Nixon’s veto is a reminder of these fundamental principles of liberty, of their own constitutional oath to “support this Constitution,” and the fact that there is no constitutionally enumerated authority to impose any restrictions whatsoever on the right to keep and bear arms.

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