Personally, I like Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. He's a nice guy, has accepted invitations to speak to my students, even supporting some more "liberal" legislative actions. He usually has a good head on his shoulders.
So… I would like to know, what happened to him? Maybe Schaefer was infected by some tea party disease or bitten by NRA rabid dogs. Maybe he suffered a head injury ducking and weaving in the state Senate chambers. However it happened, he now suffers from "stupid does as stupid is" syndrome.
(I know "Forrest Gump" — which is one of the worst morality/rags to riches movies ever — said "stupid is as stupid does," but the reverse appears to fit better in this case.)
The symptom is Schaefer’s sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 14 to revise the Missouri Constitution Article I section 23 to read:
"That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be inalienable. The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement."
Two things are wrong here. First, the bill would effectively remove current language, "but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons," which could be interpreted to mean that today's Missouri conceal-and-carry laws would be void and nullified. A chicken in every pot and two MAC-11s under everyone's shirt.
The second is the inclusion of the second sentence. Since when is owning a firearm an "inalienable right?" Inalienable rights concern natural rights, not rights given through law.
Not one of the "rights" articulated in the Bill of Rights is "inalienable." Each has restrictions and limitations. Each is a general statement of perfection of freedoms for the American people. Second Amendment arguments, as I have said before, concern punctuation, a comma.
Though the Declaration of Independence claims the right of life, liberty and happiness to be "inalienable," these too can be restricted or taken away.
The same "stupid does" illness has befallen state Majority Whip Brian Nieves , R-Washington. His SB 325, if enacted, would declare "as invalid certain federal gun laws, and prohibits the enforcement of such laws" and would prohibit "the enforcement of such gun laws…"
SB 325 also declares the Commerce clause of the Constitution as invalid when concerning the interstate transportation and sale of firearms and that the federal government wants to "destroy the balance of power between the federal government and the state governments." It boldly states that the Missouri legislature would deny "any claim that the taxing and spending powers of Congress can be used to diminish in any way the people's right to keep and bear arms."
I know Mr. Schaefer knows constitutional law. I am not sure about Mr. Nieves. However, if either were to be a Democrat, I am sure the right-wing right-wingers would call them traitors, for they appear to be defying the United States and Missouri constitutions and possibly advocating the overthrow of the government.
I am not sure when or how firearms owners assumed special privileges to be, somehow, above the laws of nature or man. It might have happened when some declared that Luke 22:36 gave us a "God-given right" to own firearms. I personally question if Jesus of Nazareth, a man dedicated to peace and love, could have really said "... if you don't have a sword… buy one." The verse is, after all, a third party quote and does not read "buy an AR-15."
I believe that state and federal legislators like Schaefer and Nieves, all of whom are sworn to uphold the federal and state constitutions, are now defying both. They are definitely not listening to a clear majority of the Americans who agree that state and federal efforts to control "gun ownership is more important than protecting the right of Americans to own firearms." Not that gun ownership is an inalienable right.
Kurt, I am ordering you a bowl of my grandmother's chicken soup, two aspirin and a good night's rest. Maybe your sanity will return. I'll call you in the morning. Advice: 5¢. Representing the People: Priceless.