On 1 July, 2014, Judge Jon Beetem dismissed the lawsuit against placing the constitutional right to keep and bear arms on the August 6th primary ballot.
Other states that have placed similar measures before the public have seen overwhelming support for them, often with majorities over 74%. Wisconsin passed such a measure in 1998 with 74% of the vote. Kansas passed their amendment with 88% of the vote in 2010. Louisiana did the same with 74% of the vote in 2012. Oklahoma has a similar measure on the ballot for this November. It seems likely that Democrat Governor Nixon chose to put the measure on the August 6th ballot in an attempt to reduce second amendment supporter turnout in the general election in November.
Opponents of the measure then filed a the lawsuit that was dismissed by Judge Beetem, contending that the wording was insufficient and unfair. Readers may judge for themselves. Here is the wording on the ballot:
Official Ballot Title:
- Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?
- State and local governmental entities should have no direct costs or savings from this proposal. However, the proposal’s passage will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice related costs. The total potential costs are unknown, but could be significant.
- A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to expand the right to keep and bear arms to include ammunition and related accessories for such arms. This amendment also removes the language that states the right to keep and bear arms does not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. This amendment does not prevent the legislature from limiting the rights of certain felons and certain individuals adjudicated as having a mental disorder.
- A "no"; [sic] vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding arms, ammunition, and accessories for such arms.
- If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.
Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such 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. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The opponents of the measure may choose to appeal the court's decision. If they do, might such a delay push the measure to the November ballot?
Governor Nixon is also contemplating whether to sign a popular gun reform bill. He has to make his decision by July 18th or 19th. A veto could energize second amendment supporters to go to the polls to support the constitutional amendment.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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