On Tuesday August 5, Missouri voters will have an opportunity to “obligate” their state to defend the right to keep and bear arms against all infringements.
Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR36) is a proposal for a State Constitutional amendment that will be listed as Amendment 5 on the ballot during the Aug. 5 primary election. The question posed to Missouri voters will be: “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?”
If passed by the voters, Amendment 5 would affirm 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]
In addition, Amendment 5 ties the courts’ hands 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.
A final section of the resolution would constitutionalize an obligation for all branches of the state government to take positive action to protect the unalienable right to keep and bear arms. Not only would it restrain state officers from violating this basic right, it would also require the state to take steps to nullify federal infringements within the borders of the state.
“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.”
An yes vote on Amendment 5 by Missouri voters could create the public mandate needed to pave the way for the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, which is the country’s most powerful gun control nullification measure, to be introduced, passed and finally signed into law.
There is much work that needs to be done to safeguard the 2nd Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms in the Show Me State, but passage of Amendment 5 would mean the state is certainly headed in the right direction.