Missouri House advances firearm discrimination measure

Thursday, March 8, 2012 | 10:16 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House has advanced legislation making it illegal for employers to discriminate against current or prospective workers because they own or use guns.

The measure would forbid companies from turning people down for jobs or treating them differently because they have a concealed carry permit or have used a firearm in the past.

The House bill is sponsored by Wanda Brown, a Republican from Lincoln. She says treating workers differently because they own or use guns amounts to discrimination that violates their Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Democrats largely opposed the bill. They said gun ownership is a voluntary choice, unlike other factors protected by anti-discrimination laws such as race or gender.

The bill must be approved once more by the House before it goes to the Senate.


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Mark Foecking March 8, 2012 | 11:17 a.m.

Again, how big of a problem is this? I've never heard of anyone being turned down for a job because they own guns. Has anyone? Why is the legislature wasting time with this?


(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote March 8, 2012 | 12:14 p.m.

What if an employer thinks that the use/ownership of firearms violates their religious principles? I'm going to opine that those passionate defenders of an insurance company's right to not cover contraceptives will find their once vaunted religious freedoms doctrine curiously lacking in this application.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 9, 2012 | 4:47 a.m.

Well, except the insurance company is not being asked to provide free firearms to the employee. They're not really the same thing.

My whole thing is both regulations attempt to regulate something that, as far as I can tell, never happens.


(Report Comment)
frank christian March 9, 2012 | 7:56 a.m.

Mark F. - "turning people down for jobs or treating them differently because they have a concealed carry permit or have used a firearm in the past."

The "concealed carry permit" thing would be a newer occurrence that would turn up in a employee investigation. Having not applied for a job in recent years I don't know if it has become a problem or not. If it has, is there any doubt that it is a problem created by liberals? Having written that, I must, as well mention that I now occasionally winch when it appears some MO Republicans have had control long enough that they, like every Democrat alive, now believe our lives depend upon them to be made livable.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote March 9, 2012 | 10:42 a.m.


My example was meant to illustrate that the freedom of religion principle is often selectively applied, depending on what it is overriding. My own opinion/solution, is that there should have been a public option in the ACA. This would have obviated the need to dictate to insurance companies what they are required to cover. It would also have led to a more competitive insurance market, as the private plans would have to compete with the public plan. Thus insurance companies would have been freed from much regulation, but who would purchase their policies if they are lacking in coverages? Making the public plan revenue neutral (premiums = total cost of the program), would have afforded the general population a more cost effective insurance plan. Absent individual financial interests contingent on the current system, I don't know why people would oppose a revenue neutral public option.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 9, 2012 | 11:56 a.m.

"who would purchase their policies if they are lacking in coverages?"

Lots of people, judging by the amount who gripe that their insurer doesn't cover this or that, yet they pay their premiums anyway. That's one of the reasons why I don't have health insurance: I don't want a company deciding my care.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 10, 2012 | 6:16 a.m.

Christopher Foote wrote:

" I don't know why people would oppose a revenue neutral public option."

I don't really oppose it, but I don't think it would change very much, either. The cost of health care is the overwhelming driver of insurance costs - profits are typically only 6-7% of the cost of a policy. If you're talking about a truly revenue neutral public plan, the premiums wouldn't be all that different from a comparable private plan, and the same people that feel they can't afford private insurance couldn't afford it either.

There's a huge diversity of insurance plans offered (although not necessarily from one employer), and I don't think a public option would add much to that. There is already a lot of competition among insurance companies - landing a contract like Coventry has with MU is a big money maker for them. Our real issue is the cost of health care, not so much who pays for it.


(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 10, 2012 | 6:28 a.m.

Jimmy Bearfield wrote:

" That's one of the reasons why I don't have health insurance: I don't want a company deciding my care."

If you can afford to self-insure, that is ideal, but a lot of people can't do that (for many reasons, some of which are not so good ones). Your money can work for you instead of the insurer, until you need it.

I'll keep my MU insurance after I retire (which is pretty good insurance) and will make a thorough comparison with Medicare when I'm of age for that.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 10, 2012 | 7:13 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

There's a hidden implication here: that Bearfield has the right to MAKE his decision. We can critique his decision (if it's any of our business to do so), but if some people have their way we may no longer have the right to make such decisions.

You have the right to make your decision, at least for the present.

"Ya pays yur money [or not] and ya takes yur chances."

I think both you and Bearfield should be the ones to make the decisions, in your respective situations. Some people would impose upon us a system of government they SAY would reduce chances of bad outcomes. I don't believe them.

(Report Comment)

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