Mon March 4, 2013
Missouri May Expand 'Right To Bear Arms'
A Missouri Senate Committee has unanimously passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the State Constitution’s right to bear arms.
In addition to affirming the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Senate Joint Resolution 14 would require the state to defend any infringement of that right, and would include using a firearm to defend one’s family as a guaranteed constitutional right. State Senator Jason Holsman (D, Kansas City) sits on the committee that approved the resolution.
“The arms of 1776 are certainly not the arms of 2013," Holsman said. "For my role in this, the issue is (whether) the people can vote on this determination, and I am a fan of letting the people decide, and so I voted ‘yes’ to give them that option.”
The Senate General Laws Committee also tweaked the language, changing the word "inalienable" to "unalienable."
"Inalienable versus unalienable, it's a 200-year-old question," Holsman said. "That's the great debate that (Thomas) Jefferson and (John) Adams had in the Declaration of Independence, and I'm not sure that there was conclusive proof then, (or that) there is now."
If approved by both the Senate and House, it would go before Missouri voters in November of 2014.
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The Missouri Constitution already enshrines the right to bear arms, but a state senator wants to expand that protection. The Senate General Laws Committee scheduled a vote Monday on the proposal by Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia.
The proposed constitutional amendment would define the right to bear arms as "inalienable" and require the state to defend against any "infringement" of that right. Schaefer filed his measure shortly after President Barack Obama outlined his plans for stricter federal gun control laws.
If passed by both the House and Senate, the constitutional amendment would need to be approved by Missouri voters.