Monday began with a blunt reminder of just how precious and fleeting life is. It also brought with it a reminder of the greatness of America. Instantaneously, those in Boston began to lend a helping hand to the injured. Many marathon runners kept running to local hospitals to donate blood, while across the country, we united in prayer for those impacted. In America, though our personal histories may be far different we have a common bond that unites us as one people.
That common quality is the American spirit; a spirit that traces its lineage back to the fervor of our Founding Fathers. These men knew that personal liberty and limited government were vital building blocks for a successful society. Within such a society, the individual person had the freedom to pursue the life they wanted without unwarranted infringement.
In order to allow for this freedom, the Founders outlined enumerated powers for the federal government and restricted encroachment on certain rights, which they outlined in the bill of rights. One such right is the right to keep and bear arms. The Founders felt so strongly about this right that they listed it second only to the freedom of speech and religion.
Recently, we have seen an attack not only on the second amendment but on other freedoms which the Founders sought to protect. Daily it seems as if there are new attacks on the foundational beliefs which have made America the greatest place to live in the world. This week the Missouri House took a stand against this barrage and passed measures to protect and preserve our constitutional rights.
The first measure, House Bill 436, sponsored by Representative Doug Funderburk, establishes the Second Amendment Preservation Act. This act declares that self-defense is an unalienable right, which cannot be eroded by any level of government. In the Declaration of Independence our Founders made life the foremost of our unalienable rights. The right to self-defense is paramount in guaranteeing the right to life.
HB 436 allows for Missouri school to designate elementary or secondary school teachers or administrators as a school protection officer, whose responsibilities and duties are voluntary and in addition to their normal responsibilities and duties. These protection officers would receive extensive training from the Department of Public Safety prior to serving as a protection officer.
HB 436 also states that a person or entity cannot publish the name, address, or other identifying information of any individual who owns a firearm or is an applicant for or holder of any license, certificate, permit, or endorsement that allows the person to own, acquire, possess, or carry a firearm.
The Missouri House also passed House Bill 170, sponsored by Representative Casey Guernsey. HB 170 nullifies any federal laws that seek to cripple Missourians’ right to self-defense. This bill, called the Firearm Protection Act, specifies that no official shall enforce a federal firearm law when the firearm is manufactured, sold, and owned solely in Missouri. This is an important protection against future federal government overreach.
For too long, the federal government has expanded its powers through the “interstate commerce clause.” This clause was written to ensure a unified currency in this nation and to encourage business among the states. It was never meant as a means to regulate values or infringe on rights.
The unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the bedrock of the American way. Our Founding Fathers envisioned a government that worked for the people, not one that constantly tried to dictate how they lived their lives. The true origin of authority in America starts with the individual citizen, with the government intended to serve as a protective entity for the individual, not a controlling force. We in the state legislature have the direct responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of you, the citizens who have granted us our authority. That is our goal in the Missouri House.
For more information about the legislation mentioned above or if you wish to participate in my online survey, please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.