Monday, June 20, 2016
Reiboldt: Gun owners are not simple-minded and dangerous
The Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution—are perhaps the most important guarantee every American citizen has against a centralized federal government. All elected state officials, while being sworn in, are required to take an oath to defend and protect both the U.S. Constitution and the Missouri Constitution.
When the U.S. Constitution was adopted it provided for an increased federal authority; however, the Bill of Rights insured the protection of the basic rights of the citizens. Our founding fathers were very skeptical and even hostile to the over-reaching powers of a federal government. They understood it all too well, having fought a war of independence to free the new nation from the oppression and tyranny of a government that neither understood nor respected the people it was supposed to represent. Today, this concept sounds all too familiar.
Within the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the guarantee that all law-abiding American citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. In the past several years, this right has seen increasingly aggressive attacks against it. From the current President of the U.S. to members of Congress and the judiciary, some have worked to make firearms and ammunition more difficult to obtain and have deliberately portrayed law-abiding gun owners as a threat to our country and its safety. They have led state and national efforts to roll back our Second Amendment laws, while seeking to enact new, across-the-board aggressive gun-control laws. The President has sought to use unconstitutional executive order, while some Congressional leaders have pushed for more restrictive gun-control laws and others are spending millions of dollars attacking the peoples’ duly-given constitutional rights. Every time there is a tragic shooting event there is another push to limit or do away with the constitutional rights of all gun owners, not just those of the guilty individuals.
Well over one-third of American citizens are gun owners, and they are fed up with today’s liberal rhetoric. They have been lied to, lied about, and falsely portrayed for the last seven years. Gun owners have been blamed when mad men murder others, they have been blamed for inner-city gang violence, and they have been portrayed as simple-minded and dangerous human beings. Today’s media and gun-banning politicians continue their attack on all law-abiding gun owners on nearly a daily basic. These same politicians have left our southern border wide open for criminal Mexican drug gangs to come in and terrorize our cities and addict and kill our children. They then blame gun owners for the violent acts of others. They claim to be tough on crime but release violent felons at an alarming rate.
Between 2013 and 2015 the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) released into our country nearly 90,000 illegal aliens considered to be criminal threats. A national news report verified that 124 illegal immigrant criminals released from jails since 2010 have been charged with 135 new murders. The same people who are attempting to ban guns have continually lumped suicides in with homicides to create a number substantially higher than actual gun murders. According to data from the Pew Research Center, gun murders have fallen in recent years, but suicides by gun have risen. It seems the desire is to create more sensationalism and urgency within the media to attack law-abiding gun owners. While a suicide is a tragedy that never should be minimized or belittled, it is hardly the fault of any law-abiding gun owner.
This past session the Missouri General Assembly passed and sent to the Governor SB 656, a bill with broad and far-reaching acknowledgement of our rights under the Second Amendment. First of all, if it is signed by the Governor it will put into Missouri law what is known as “Constitutional Carry.” This allows law-abiding Missourians who already have the right to open carry the freedom to conceal carry without having to obtain an additional permit. Constitutional carry gets the government out of the firearms regulation business. Criminals and anyone who is mentally incompetent will still be prohibited from owning and carrying a firearm.
Secondly, SB 656 includes the provision stand your ground. This will change state law to allow individuals to protect themselves and their families when publicly threatened. If a Missourian is under attack or threatened, “it should not be necessary for them to take extraordinary measures to avoid the conflict that they did not initiate.” The stand your ground provision “upholds the principle that our laws protect the innocent over the criminal and the law-abiding over the law-breaker.”
SB 656 is currently awaiting the Governor’s action of either signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature, or vetoing it. Many believe he will veto this legislation. If so, most feel the veto can be overridden in September.