Gun bill looked poorly planned, but legislators knew just what they were doing

Updated: 2013-07-08T03:45:24Z


The Kansas City Star

These Missouri Republicans are not lacking intelligence, despite recent evidence to the contrary.

Doug Funderburk, Tim Jones, Delus Johnson, Donna Lichtenegger, Mike Kelley, Joe Don McGaugh, John McCaherty, Kathie Conway and Sandy Crawford.

Among this group of representatives are a couple of attorneys, a former fire captain, a banker, businessmen, a pastor and a former criminal and civil investigator.

Yet each would have to feign a lack of even basic knowledge of the U.S. Constitution to explain how they believed that a bill they pressed toward law could be constitutionally sound.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the thing Friday.

Nixon pointed out that its overreach would mean that newspapers could be breaking the law when they print photos of hunters with their trophy bucks. That’s in addition to trampling all over the supremacy clause.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker pointed out that the bill would have meant limiting the role of federal agents fighting drug dealers and violent crime in Missouri. People like the agents with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — you know, the good guys.

Yet these legislators sponsored the bill with a bravado promise to make illegal in Missouri any effort that might “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.”

These legislators aren’t stupid people. They’re pandering, desperately seeking those who won’t ask about specifics within bills, while dodging pertinent gun issues.

Remember the horrible death of Blair Shanahan Lane on the Fourth of July two years ago? The 11-year-old was shot in the neck with a bullet that a man fired toward a lake in celebration. Without a change to state law, such carelessness with a firearm is almost always a misdemeanor. In Arizona, the NRA supported a measure that enhanced penalties for such actions.

Because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year, there are holes in the sentencing that Missouri prosecutors can press for when a juvenile commits a heinous crime. Surely, both urban and rural voters could see the value of fairly addressing both of these gun issues.

Too often, these politicians claim they are looking out for certain constituents — rural residents who are avid hunters and sportsmen who enjoy target practice.

But this legislation was so poorly thought-out, it didn’t help those voters, or anyone else in the state.

To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to

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