Saturday, July 19, 2014

MO: Supreme Court Rules Right to Keep and Bear Arms Will be on August 5 Ballot

Missouri will have a strengthened Right to Keep and Bear Arms provision on the August 5th ballot.  Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld rulings against foes of the amendment , who tried to keep it off the ballot.  

The constitutional amendment was passed by overwhelming margins in the legislature, assuming that it would be on the November Ballot.   Governor Nixon (D) decided to put the measure on the August primary ballot instead.   A few days ago, Governor Nixon vetoed a popular gun law reform that was passed with veto proof margins in the house, and potentially veto proof margins in the Senate.


A group of Missourians recently filed a lawsuit in Jefferson City, attempting to remove Amendment 5 from the August ballot.

"They were saying that the word ‘inalienable’ is not understandable and too vague. And the judge overruled that. And then it went to the Missouri Supreme Court," Wampler said.

On Friday, the Missouri Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, giving Amendment 5 a straight shot to the ballot.

 The reporter or the attorney quoted, gets the spelling in the amendment wrong.  It is unalienable, not inalienable.   This may be a small point, but the whole purpose of the article seems to be to portray the amendment as somehow confusing.    That seems to be the tactic taken by the Kansas City Star editorial board:

 Even the lawmakers who voted to place the questions on the ballot disagree on what they actually say or do. About the only thing that’s certain is that the questions are almost certain to drag the state into costly future court battles.

Read more here:
The wording on the ballot will read:

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.
Fair Ballot Language:
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.
The current amendment reads as follows:
 Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person 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 proposed amendment is below:
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.
At least the editorial board at the Kansas City Star is consistent.  They also oppose Amendment 9, which adds the same protections to electronic communications and data that exists for "homes, papers, and effects".

It is clear that the editorial board of the Kansas City Star does not want the power of the State curtailed in any meaningful way. 

Senate leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, had this to say:

“Through every step of this process, our summary language proved to be fair,” said Dempsey. “As a Legislature, we value Second Amendment rights, and we want to protect those rights from any future infringements. We carefully crafted the language to give voters the final say in how they want to protect their families.”
Other states that have placed strengthened right to keep and bear arms 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 5th ballot in an attempt to reduce second amendment supporter turnout in the general election in November.

 ©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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