February 16, 2013
Recently it seems Missouri politicians have been willing to tackle some very tough but important issues within legislation. Although not perfect, we have bills that attempt to resist the NDAA and warrantless spying by drones on the state level. But with every small victory or progress comes with them more concerns about the condition of our civil rights. One more controversy that we have to keep a close eye on is the legislation sponsored by Rep. Rory Ellinger called HB 545.
Ellinger, along with his cosponsors Representatives Schupp, McNeil, and Walton Gray, have presented an amendment to Chapter 571 of the RSMo. HB 545 essentially puts a ban on “assault weapons” which is not a surprise but their definition of such weapons is even more concerning. This bill doesn’t simply want to ban “assault rifles” like an AR-15, its language clearly includes shotguns and handguns that are able to accept a magazine of more than 10 rounds.
To make matters worse, the bill also does not allow for any “assault weapons” acquired before it becomes law to be grandfathered in. The only solutions it gives are for the owner to remove their gun and high capacity magazines out of state, render the weapon inoperable, or turn the firearm over to the police. Legislation also gives such owners 90 days from the effective date to do one of the three options before they would be in violation of the law. Did I forget to mention that it has a felony charge attached to it?
While the Democrats are certainly the source for such a ridiculous bill, we should not assume that the Republicans are going to come out strong against this legislation. Although House Speaker Tim Jones says he’s committed to protecting the Second Amendment we must hold both parties feet to the fire. The NRA came out recently under their Institute for Legislative Action and said, “Compelling law-abiding citizens to surrender their firearms and magazines is unconstitutional, wrong and another failed attempt to reduce crime… HB 545 would only affect the lawful, while ignoring the actual problem of violent criminals who misuse firearms.”
Of course, there are others that are skeptical about the implementation of this bill. The questions arise as to who would actually follow one of the three steps and would local law enforcement confiscate guns if further action was needed. The answer to both questions is quite simple and stems from a similar logic. People who follow the solutions of HB 545 will be law-abiding citizens who in their naivety think the government knows best. While police officers, in reaction to civil disobedience, will probably go along with an Executive Order by Gov. Jay Nixon or Pres. Obama to quell dissent. However, I do realize that many police officers and even military have stated that they will not go door-to-door confiscation of guns. Let’s just hope that philosophy holds strong when the threat of losing their job or imprisonment becomes a reality.
It is my belief that it is our responsibility to make sure those who supposedly represent us submit to our will. It is also my opinion that we as a society cannot fully depend on public servants to protect us or even resist larger institutions. That is our job. With that being said, I want to challenge local grassroots efforts to focus in on HB 545. The best thing you can do right now without leaving your residence is call the office of Gov. Jay Nixon (573-751-3222) and tell him to renounce this bill. Apparently, according to his secretary, they are keeping count of whether or not the public is for this legislation.
Most importantly, as a concerned citizen, I ask that you also contact your State Representative at573-751-2000 and tell them to reject HB 545 or any new gun control legislation. If you do not know who your State Representative is please click here and look them up by district. Furthermore, as a measure of chastisement, I ask that you contact the sponsor and cosponsors of this bill.
- Rep. Rory Ellinger (sponsor) 573-751-4265 or email Rory.Ellinger@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray 573-751-5538 or email Rochelle.Gray@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Margo McNeil 573-751-5365 or email Margo.McNeil@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Jill Schupp 573-751-9762 or email Jill.Schupp@house.mo.gov
State to them your disapproval of HB 545 and tell them to discontinue any efforts for further restrictions or gun bans. It is important that you are respectful and do not make any violent threats because the latter only hurts our credibility. A final note for any activists that are interested in making calls or sending emails but live out of state, you are also welcome to contact our Missouri State Representatives and express your disgust. There is no need to tell them what state you’re from and it is encouraged not to tell them. For those that are interested in getting out and making your presence known I suggest going down to Jefferson City, MO at the Capitol building, in an organized way, and stage a protest or demonstration.