Editor's Note: Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake Saint Louis, has released his Capitol Report for Feb. 22. The opinions expressed in the column are those of Rep. Gatschenberger and do not reflect the views of Patch.
I’ve received a multitude of emails, calls, and letters the past week from constituents who are greatly concerned about a bill filed by Rep. Rory Ellinger (D-University City). Rep. Ellinger, along with three other St. Louis representatives, filed House Bill 545. I respect Rep. Ellinger, and I know he believes he is doing the right thing by introducing this bill. But I cannot agree.
HB 545 is a direct attack on the second amendment that would make many law-abiding gun owners felons. The bill seeks to ban the possession, sale, transfer or manufacturing of certain semi-automatic rifles and magazines that are capable of holding more than ten rounds. It contains no grandfather clause, which means if you currently own any of the semi-automatic rifles and magazines outlined in this bill, you will have 90 days from the effective date of the legislation to surrender, destroy, or remove these currently lawful items from Missouri. If you fail to do so, you could be charged with a Class C felony.
The Second Amendment to the United State Constitution reads:
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Here in Missouri, the Republican-led legislature is dedicated to upholding and protecting the fundamental rights of our citizens as outlined in the Constitution. Legislation that is clearly an infringement on our Constitution must not be allowed to become law, and with the current makeup of the General Assembly, it will not be allowed to become law.
One piece of legislation being proposed in the House to protect the rights of Missourians is HB 170 called the "Firearm Protection Act," sponsored by Rep. Casey Guernsey (R-2). This legislation is designed to shield our citizens from President Obama's gun control mandates, executive orders and proposed legislation that would limit our fundamental Second Amendment rights. The Firearm Protection Act specifies that no official shall enforce a federal firearm law when the firearm is manufactured and remains in the state and that any new federal law banning or restricting ownership of a semi-automatic firearm is unenforceable. In addition the legislation would make any attempt to curb a Missourian’s Second Amendment rights a class D felony and directs the Attorney General of the State of Missouri to defend Missouri citizen's rights to keep and bear arms.
Missouri legislators believe it is their fundamental responsibility to defend and protect Missourians’ basic constitutional rights framed in both the US and Missouri Constitutions.