JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., August 5, 2014 – In a landslide today, Missouri voters took a powerful first step towards a nullification of gun control measures by approving a constitutional amendment “obligating” the state to defend the right to keep and bear arms against all infringements.
Amendment 5, originally introduced in the Missouri legislature as Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR36), was passed into the Missouri state constitution by a huge margin today. At the time of this report, the measure had a 64% approval.
The question posed to Missouri voters was: “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?”
As passed by voters, Amendment 5 now affirms that “the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.” [emphasis added]
By Constitutionalizing an obligation for all branches of the state government to take positive action to protect the unalienable right to keep and bear arms, Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Boldin said that Missouri voters have now set the stage for a full nullification of federal gun laws and regulations.
“‘Under no circumstance’ is not beating around the bush,” said Boldin. “When the federal government attempts to enforce a law, order, rule or regulation that violates the right to keep and bear arms, the state of Missouri is now required to step in and defend against that,” he said.
While the form of that defense was not specified in the text of Amendment 5, Boldin said this sets the stage for further action by the legislature in 2015 and beyond.
“Missouri voters spoke loud and clear today. They want their state to stand in the gap and protect the right to keep and bear arms against all comers,” said Boldin. “Today was step one. Step two is now. Pass the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, banning state enforcement of every so-called federal gun law. And from there, step three and four will be to bring gun control to an end in Missouri,” he said.
In addition to this obligation, Amendment 5 ties the hands of state courts by requiring them to use “strict scrutiny,” the highest standard of review, when the constitutionality of a gun control law is being challenged. This, according to Ron Calzone of Missouri First, is “a huge change” from the status quo.
While opponents were alarmed at the unknown costs of this new constitutional obligation, the original sponsor of the proposal felt that the potential cost would be an important investment for the rights of the People.
“There may be some times when the right is infringed by the federal government or by someone else, where it is incumbent on the state to step forward,” State Sen. Kurt Schaefer said in a CBS News report about the ballot measure that he sponsored. “Will there be a cost with that? Absolutely. Is that cost worth it to uphold that right that Missourians have? Absolutely.”
While supporters acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to safeguard the 2nd Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms in the Show Me State, passage of Amendment 5 means that Missouri is certainly headed that direction.
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