The crazy people at the Collegian, the student paper at The University of Tulsa, let me write stuff. This article below was featured in the Mar. 4th issue. (link)
A Missouri state representative proposed a new bill which would actually make it a Class D felony for any member to propose gun control legislation. A class D felony carries a maximum sentence of no more than four years.
The legislation, House Bill 633, comes from Rep. Mike Leara in response to the talk of stronger gun control legislation on the national and state level. One such bill is Missouri House Bill 545, which was proposed by Missouri House Democrats a few weeks earlier. HB 545 would ban high capacity magazines and “assault weapons,” which the bill defines as a “semi-automatic rifle” with the ability to “accept a detachable magazine” and at least one of four extra features.
All assault weapons must either be turned into the proper authorities, disabled or taken out of the state within 90 days of the legislation being turned into law.
Many on the right view this type of legislation, if passed and signed into law, as infringing on the rights under the Second Amendment. The conservative media, including blogs like Breitbart.com, radio shows like “The Dana Show” and several commentators on Fox News, had a field day with this legislation.
Yet when a Republican, Rep. Mike Leara, proposed legislation which would infringe on legislators’ First Amendment rights, very few on the right vocally stood up against this mess of legislation.
Most of those concerned with the bill were to the left, but some on the right came out against the bill too. Republican Rep. Kevin Engler of Farmington, Mo. said, “Everybody should have a right to introduce bills, even bad ones.” Those on the right against the HB 633 could not raise their collective voices to the same volume as many on the right had done after HB 545 was proposed.
Leara released this statement defending his bill: “I have no illusions about the bill making it through the legislative process, but I want it to be clear that the Missouri House will stand in defense of the people’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” Because Leara knew this bill would never pass the Missouri Legislature, his defenders say that the legislation is nothing about which we should get upset.
The Democrats’ legislation attempts to ban certain guns while permitting others, in order to make our nation safer. Leara’s bill only makes our nation safer if one believes that the federal government, and President Obama in particular, is attempting to become tyrannical. That world is fictional.
The most obnoxious bit about this defense is that I am positive the Democrats knew their bill would not pass either. Both Houses of the Missouri legislature are controlled by Republicans with a veto-proof majority in both chambers over the Democratic governor, who tries to avoid conflict. I would claim that the Democrats simply wanted to state their position, just as Leara wanted to make sure his position was known.
The conservative media decided that it was better to exaggerate the extent of the Democrats’ bill with headlines and talk implying that all guns would be confiscated (some even suggesting the bill had passed) while letting Leara get off easily. It is not because they care about the Constitution, but because the attacks on the left help their political goals and positions. Many of the right like to hide their actions behind defending the Constitution and their love for America.
The Second Amendment is in the Constitution, and a change would be needed before stricter laws could be created. The Constitution and our rights as humans are always evolving. Our courts and legislators have shown time and again that rights can be changed, removed or added to better protect that nation as a whole.
I hope that at some point as many conservatives will be as outraged by similar actions from both parties. Until then, I will continue to be outraged by the spin, inaccuracy and inconsistency coming out of a large number of people on the right.