Troubled by the confiscatory gun bill that was introduced in the Missouri House last week, one lawmaker is fighting back and taking a stand against those who seek to upend the Second Amendment.
On Monday, state Rep. Mike Leara (R-St. Louis) introduced HB 633, which specifies that “any member of the general assembly who proposes legislation that further restricts an individual’s right to bear arms will be guilty of a Class D felony.”
The conservative-leaning lawmaker spoke to the Huffington Post about the impetus behind the measure.
“We seem to be having a lot of people willing to further restrict our constitutional rights and take our rights,” said Leara. “It is a push-back to the people who don’t believe in our constitutional rights. There have to be consequences to removing our constitutional rights.”
Leara then referenced state Rep. Rory Ellinger’s bill, HB 545, which would create a statewide ban on the transfer, purchase, manufacture, import or possession of military-style ‘assault’ weapons and high-capacity magazines.
According to language in HB 545, Missourians would have 90 days to sell the weapon or magazine to an out-of-state buyer, render them permanently inoperable or surrender them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction. Those who fail to comply would be slapped with a Class C felony.
“That went too far,” Leara said of HB 545. “It was a confiscation bill without compensation.”
In terms of severity, the Missouri Sentencing Advisory Commission recommends those who are charged with a Class C felony be imprisoned for a jail term not to exceed seven years or a probationary sentence between one and five years. For a Class D felony the probationary sentencing is the same but the jail term is not to exceed four years.
Reactions to Leara’s bill have been predictable in that most lawmakers view it as more of a political stunt than a serious attempt at introducing meaningful reform.
Democratic state Rep. Stacey Newman, the author of a bill that would mandate background checks for all gun purchases, joked on twitter about Leara’s bill.
“Counting on you all visiting me in prison re my background [check] bill,” Newman tweeted Tuesday morning.
Though, Leara has acknowledged that his bill was drafted for the primary purpose of sending a message to gun control proponents in the General Assembly -‘hands off the Second Amendment’ – and that its likelihood of passage is nil.
“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,” Leara wrote in a statement.
Leara’s bill is indicative of a wave of countervailing, pro-gun bills designed to supplant the various gun control bills that are now being considered at the state and federal level.
Bills, like the Firearms Freedom Act, that are designed to exempt any firearm, accessory or ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of a certain state from federal regulations, have gained significant traction in South Carolina, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Utah among other traditional ‘pro-gun states.’