On April 11, the United States Senate moved forward with national legislation on a variety of gun control proposals. Their legislation, S. 649, known as the Safe Community, Safe Schools Act of 2013, will be taken up this week. A number of amendments will be offered to the base bill. These proposals could include a ban on lawfully owned firearms and magazines. Being considered is language that would make it a crime to privately transfer a firearm and would require gun owners to get government permission to transfer or sell guns to their friends or family members. Other amendments on gun control may be considered, as well.
The main opposition to this legislation comes from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposes any anti-gun legislation or any restrictions on our constitutional Second Amendment rights. The NRA maintains that not one proposal in this legislation would have stopped any of the latest public shootings.
In Missouri, the General Assembly continues to take up bills on gun matters and measures. This past week the Missouri House advanced another piece of legislation to enhance our Second Amendment rights. House Hill 533 gives state employees the right to keep firearms in their vehicles on state-owned property, but the vehicles must be locked at all times and the firearms must be out of sight. The purpose of this legislation is simple—state employees should not be denied the right to defend themselves while traveling to and from work. Self-defense is a basic right of all Americans guaranteed by the constitution of the United States, and House Bill 533 acknowledges that right by allowing state employees to take full advantage of their right of personal safety.
Another bill that deals with a similar subject is House Bill 787. This bill was filed in response to the Missouri Department of Revenue’s retaining copies of source documents necessary to obtain or to renew a concealed carry permit. In March a news story broke concerning accusations that the Department of Revenue was scanning, storing, and sharing private information with the federal government regarding our citizens who have concealed carry permits. Last Tuesday the Missouri Highway Patrol admitted that they had on two occasions requested the complete list of Missouri concealed carry holders. They went on to say that this list was then forwarded to a federal government agency.
Why should anyone really care who has such a list? First, it’s against state law. HB 361, passed in 2009 by the Missouri General Assembly, prohibits the sharing of this information. The law specifically states: “No citizen of this state shall have his or her privacy compromised by the state or agents of the state.” Second, having a concealed carry (CCW) is not a crime, nor is it grounds for an investigation. The real question should be why the federal government or even the state government has any interest in knowing individual CCW holders.
In 2012 the Missouri Department of Revenue issued a letter indicating they were going to make changes to the CCW renewal process, changes that appear to be very much like the procedures used in Real ID. You may recall that the Real ID is an act passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005 with the idea of “enhancing security and safety” for the U.S. However, after it passed and states reviewed its language, many felt it intruded too deeply into the privacy of our nation’s citizens. Should we be asking the same questions today?