By Steven Anthony
Missouri School of Journalism
Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, released the first draft of a new gun bill on Thursday, Oct. 31, and said it would be the first bill considered in the Senate when lawmakers return in January.
“We will get a vote on it, and we will send it to the House. The reason I want to get it done early is, if there’s a veto, we’re going to move to override during session,” he said.
Richard’s proposal would seek to nullify federal gun laws or regulations that violate the gun rights provisions of Missouri’s Constitution. It also would allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The proposal is a successor to gun legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon this year. That bill also would have nullified federal gun laws.
But two provisions came under attack during the legislature’s veto session. One would have made it a potential crime for state or local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal officials on crimes involving firearms violations.
The vetoed measure also would have let the designated school personnel detain students for up to four hours for certain offenses. Both provisions were removed in Richard’s draft.
After Nixon vetoed the legislation, a fierce override campaign was launched. That effort stalled in the Senate when Richard and Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joined the chamber’s 10 Democrats in voting against the override, causing it to fail by one vote.
Richard and Dempsey, R-St. Charles, cited concerns by law enforcement as a reason for their opposition.
Richard said his current proposal is stronger than the one vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
“I think we’ve made it more forceful. I think it’ll get signed and I think it will get passed,” Richard said.
His legislation would also remove a provision from the previous bill that would have made it illegal for newspapers to publish the names of gun owners.
The proposal likely still will see opposition from many Democrats. Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said the bill is unconstitutional and there’s an ulterior motive behind the new bill.
“It’s designed to sell weapons,” Newman said.
By Steven Anthony