by Alexander Mallin
Less than five months after a school shooting in Connecticut sparked debates on gun control across the nation, Missouri lawmakers took a step last week to further solidify their support for gun ownership.
In a 29-2 vote, the state Senate gave its backing Thursday, April 4, to a proposed constitutional amendment requiring state officials to defend Missourians’ rights to possess and bear firearms.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, would put a proposal in front of voters to alter the language on Missouri’s existing gun laws.
Missouri’s current amendment provides a right for “every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property.”
Schaefer’s bill would add “family” to that list and add language that “The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.”
Schaefer said his proposal “simply says elected officials in the state of Missouri don’t get the option to be disengaged in this discussion … You have to be looking out for the rights of Missourians as enshrined in the Constitution.”
The measure now goes to the House. If it passes there, it would go statewide voter approval to become part of Missouri’s Constitution.
The bill now moves to the Senate.