WHAT OTHERS SAY: Considering contentious ballot issues

Friday, July 25, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

On Aug. 5, we will go to the polls to decide if our state should guarantee the "right to farm" and the "right to keep and bear arms," add another 3/4-cent sales tax to fund highway department projects, create another lottery game to support veterans homes, and whether we should protect our electronic data from unreasonable search and seizure.

The Springfield News-Leader editorial takes a stance on three of the amendments in this editorial:

Amendment 5

We used this space to opine against an effort last year, when the General Assembly swept the euphemistically titled Second Amendment Preservation Act into law, only to be vetoed by the governor because it was obviously unconstitutional. The law would have made it illegal to uphold federal gun laws or for our local law enforcement to work with federal agencies, putting us all in danger.

But playing to the deep fears of many pro-gun citizens and the deep pockets of the gun lobby, the legislature came up with a new plan. Under Amendment 5, the right to keep and bear arms, already installed in our state constitution, as well as the U.S. Constitution, would become "unalienable" and any future regulations would be held to stricter legal scrutiny.

Some supporters, including Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, insist this is necessary because the right to bear arms is under threat. We disagree. We think it is a right that must be upheld, but that unfettered access to a weapon that is used for killing people should be approached with much more serious consideration.

Unstable, but well-armed, individuals have gunned down politicians, children, moviegoers and college students. To make it more difficult to pass laws to prevent such horror is unconscionable and dangerous.

We support gun rights, but not Amendment 5.

Amendment 8

Amendment 8 would create a lottery ticket that would support veterans homes. We have no problem with anyone playing the lottery, but we believe this is a bad idea that doesn't really help vets.

Like with education, this would allow legislators to say they did something for veterans while avoiding the tough funding decisions needed.

We should fund veterans homes, not gamble on them.

Amendment 9

Amendment 9 would take us into the 21st century by adding electronic data to protection from unreasonable search and seizure of our "persons, papers, homes and effects."

This is a logical step in an electronic age.

Copyright Springfield News-Leader. Reprinted with permission.

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