In August, Missouri voters will have an opportunity to “obligate” the state to defend their 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 upcoming 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, SJR36 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, SJR36 removes language stating that the right to keep and bear arms did not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. The amendment provides that the rights guaranteed under this provision of the constitution are unalienable as well. The State of Missouri is obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.
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.”
SJR36 is not the only measure that has been proposed in the Missouri legislature to protect citizens’ gun rights. The 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, HB1439, was introduced this year as well. It passed in the state house by a 110-36 margin and then an amended version passed in the state senate by a 23-8 margin.
Unfortunately, a joint committee was not able to come to an agreement about HB1439 before the end of this year’s legislative session, and it died in spite of different versions of the bill being passed by both chambers. However, Missouri voters will still have an opportunity to protect their firearms freedom with the Aug. 5 ballot measure.
An affirmative vote on SJR36 by Missouri voters could create the public mandate needed to pave the way for the 2nd Amendment Protection 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 gun rights in the Show Me State, but it is certainly headed in the right direction.
In Missouri, take action to support the right to keep and bear arms HERE.
In other states, contact state legislators and urge them to introduce and support the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act HERE.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.