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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Gun rights proposal to be decided Aug. 5

  • The right to bear arms is always a hot topic, and on Aug. 5, Missourians will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment affecting guns and ammunition in the state.
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  • Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a five-part series taking a look at Missouri constitutional amendments that will be on the Aug. 5 ballot statewide.
    The right to bear arms is always a hot topic, and on Aug. 5, Missourians will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment affecting guns and ammunition in the state.
    The official question Missourians will answer when they go to the polls is: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended 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?"
    If voted into law, the measure, which is on the ballot as a result of the Missouri Legislature passing SJR 36, would slightly change the wording of the state constitution, and have some deletions and additions.
    Instead of saying Missourians have the right to bear arms, which is the constitution’s current wording, the amendment would change the wording to say citizens have the right to “keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms.”
    The amendment would also clarify that citizens could use those arms to defend their families. Currently, the constitution reads that citizens can use arms in the defense of home, person or property, but does not specifically include family.
    The amendment goes on to spell out that the gun rights would 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,” the amendment reads.
    However, the amendment does note that the Legislature can still pass laws “which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those adjudicated by a court to be a danger to self or others as result of a mental disorder or mental infirmity.”
    Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), who sponsored SJR 36, wrote earlier this summer in a column that the amendment is all about protecting Missourians’ “fundamental rights.”
    “This measure protects a fundamental right that our country was founded upon and we cannot allow this right, or any other, to be taken from us by anti-gun politicians in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
    “This measure is about drawing a line in the sand and making it clear that in Missouri, we will do everything in our power to safeguard the freedoms we have enjoyed since the creation of this country,” Schaefer added.
    Rep. Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) disagreed with Schaefer’s logic.
    “We have enough Second Amendment protection,” he said. “We've had a school shooting a week since (the Newton, Conn., school shooting). We should focus on other issues right now — not more gun rights.”
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