Missouri State Senator Kurt Schaefer, a Republican, filed a joint resolution on Thursday that would add new language to the state constitution reaffirming state residents’ rights to bear arms. Missouri voters would need to approve the language in Missouri’s next general election in November of 2014.
The resolution’s language, in fact, would create an affirmative obligation for the state to defend each resident’s right to bear arms.
That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned [; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons]. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be inalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.
If Missouri voters approve of the above language in November, it would essentially allow a private citizen to bring a claim against the Missouri general assembly or Missouri attorney general if they do not defend the right to bear arms against federal intrusion.
Sen. Schaefer made remarks on the floor about joint resolution saying:
Everyone in this chamber should be aware that later on this morning the President of the Unite States will make an announcement on what many anticipate is an unprecedented move through executive order to limit what is a fundamental right of every citizen of the state of Missouri and every citizen of the state of the United States. And everyone in this room--everyone in this building--in this state and in this country should watch with great anticipation and skepticism about what comes out of that process. Because potentially what we are looking at is the erosion of a fundamental right of every citizen of the United States through an unprecedented mechanism of executive order.
Schaefer emphasized the importance, as law makers, of upholding the founding principles of the U.S. Constitution:
People say this argument--it's about guns. Guns are hobbies. That's not the point. The point is it is a fundamental principle that this country was founded upon. And there is one thing that makes this country the greatest country on earth--and that is the rule of law. And I know that as a senator and as a lawyer there is nothing more important to me than in my professional life, my life as a senator, my personal guaranteeing we alway uphold the rule of law.
He concluded by declaring:
So I ask all my colleagues today. As senators of the state of Missouri, it is our obligation to uphold all rights of all citizens of the state of Missouri. So please join me today. Lets's pay attention and let's move forward with what is right for protecting our Constitutional principles and protecting the rule of law.
Republicans have a majority in Missouri's State Senate and General Assembly. Missouri's Governor Jay Nixon, however, is a Democrat.
Sen. Schaefer, who is leading the charge with this measure, is a former assistant US Attorney and former assistant Attorney General for Missouri. He was just re-elected to the State Senate and is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.