This blog features observations from Randy Turner, a former teacher, newspaper reporter and editor. Send news items or comments to email@example.com
Friday, March 22, 2013
Jason Smith: I am proud to fight for your guns
In his latest newsletter, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, the GOP candidate to replace former Eighth District Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson, notes that his constituents are causing ammunition shortages because they are so concerned about the federal government coming to get their guns. Naturally, Rep. Smith knows how to deal with that situation- just ratchet up their fear some more.
These were bills I believed we must adopt on the state level to help protect citizens from the continued efforts of the federal government to reach into our lives and take away our freedoms. However, with Sen. Diane Feinstein's attempts this week to ban "assault" weapons, it has become clear to me that this fight to safeguard our rights is now even more pressing.
My constituents have made it clear that they are worried about the direction our nation is heading. Specifically, they are concerned with a federal government that has little to no respect for our United States Constitution and a desire to trample on our Second Amendment rights. They have reason to be fearful when they see the plans of the White House to create a federal gun owner database, or when they read quotes from liberal legislators like U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein saying that she will not rest until our gun rights are taken from us.
Here is what Sen. Feinstein had to say when she passed the "assault" weapons ban in 1994:
"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."
Though the federal government is unlikely to pass a full-on gun ban anytime in the near future (Sen. Feinstein's attempts to get her bill on the floor this week in the Senate were rebuffed) this hasn't stopped them from encroaching on our gun rights in other ways.
Just a few weeks ago we saw a man from Stoddard County file a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Revenue. He took issue with a new policy that required his personal information to be scanned and saved in order for his concealed carry endorsement to be added to his driver’s license. He believes, as do most Missourians, that our private information should remain private. Instead, his information was being sent to a third-party vendor outside the state, and the potential existed for that information to ultimately end up in a federal gun owner database.
We have seen the state legislature respond quickly to this potential infringement on the privacy of Missouri citizens by taking the department to task. We had a series of hearings in the state Capitol where my legislative colleagues were able to question officials from the department on their current policies. They also made it abundantly clear that the state legislature will not tolerate any private information being shared with out-of-state parties. To reinforce that, several of my colleagues have filed bills to remove any doubt law-abiding Missourians may have in regard to how their personal information is being handled.
Already, the House has begun to fast track two bills through the legislative process. One piece of legislation (HB 787) is meant to ensure that the private information of Missouri citizens remains private. Specifically, it prohibits the department from scanning personal information and submitting it to an out-of-state database.
The second bill (HB 859) would do away with the concealed carry endorsement that appears on a driver’s license and would allow anyone with an endorsement to convert it to a permit at their local sheriff’s department. It’s a change that would take the process away from the Missouri Department of Revenue and put it in the hands of local authorities who are here to protect our rights rather than violate them.
Both bills represent a step in the right direction for our state, but they are just part of the bigger effort we must have to protect our Second Amendment rights. The overreaching actions of the federal government have scared law-abiding citizens into believing their rights may be taken away.
We have seen ammunition shortages here in Missouri and across the country as law-abiding citizens stock up on items they are worried the federal government will outlaw. As a state, we must make it clear that we will stand in defense of these rights – that we will turn back all efforts by the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to disregard and destroy the freedoms given to us by our founding fathers.
It’s a fight I am proud to wage on your behalf, and on the behalf of all law-abiding gun owners here in Missouri.