Missouri Senate Passes Measure to Strengthen Gun Rights

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed a bill Thursday that further protects the rights of Missouri gun owners. Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer first proposed the bill in January, shortly after President Obama announced plans to make gun control laws more strict. Senators voted 29-2 on the measure. 

The amendment Sen. Schaefer drafted states, "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 unalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement."

The additions in the amendment that did not exist before include, citizens having the right to keep and bear arms in defense of their family. It would also remove language stating the right to keep and bear arms did not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. Lastly, the amendment labels the rights guaranteed under the provision of the Constitution as "unalienable."

The bill aims to allow Missourians to present a claim against the Missouri General Assembly or General Attorney, when those lawmakers do not defend the state citizens' rights to bear arms against federal infringement.

Doug Alley, owner of Ammo Alley in Hartsburg, told KOMU 8 News he is "estatic" about the passed legislation.  He explained, "I was so glad to see that somebody actually decided to write some kind of legislation that would prevent somebody else from trying to infringe upon those freedoms we hold so dear," Alley explained.

Jonathn Lowe is the Communications Coordinator of Columbia Community Non Violence initiative or CCNVI.  Lowe explained his group aims to remove violence from the Columbia area.  He told KOMU 8 News one of those areas is gun violence.  

Lowe said he does not expect the bill to increase gun violence, but will provide new opportunities to educate the community.  "We want to help them with positive attitutdes and positive outlook on life, Regardless of this being passed, regardless if more people do obtain a people we want people to know there are alternatives" he said.  

Democratic Senator Maria Chapelle-Nadal voted no to the measure saying it is not needed because the constitution already does enought.