JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — Missouri Republicans said they are ready to oppose President Joe Biden‘s executive actions on gun violence.
The President called the gun violence in the country an “epidemic” during his announcement of six executive actions Thursday. In Missouri, there is legislation making its way through the General Assembly which would protect Missourians from any federal gun laws. Senate Republicans said they are willing to have that conversation over the legislation sooner rather than later to stop the President from taking away guns.
“Missouri Republicans are taking concrete steps to push back against government intrusion and these assaults on personal freedom,” Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said. “If Biden attempts to single-handedly grab American firearms, Missouri Republicans will be ready to defend the Second Amendment rights that we hold dearly to.”
Biden’s actions include a “red flag” legislation drafted by the Department of Justice that states could adopt. That legislation would allow family members or law enforcement to petition to a court order temporarily barring people that are in danger to themself or others from access a firearm. Another action includes restricting homemade weapons known as “ghost” guns.”
“Obviously when the Biden Administration is threatening the Second Amendment, what we believe to hold dearly to the Second Amendment Rights that we hold, that conversation is going to heat up very rapidly,” Schatz said.
During his address, Biden said, “No amendment to the Constitution is absolute.” He also went on to say, “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment.”
“At some point in his speech, he said no constitutional right is absolute, which I think is one of the most asinine and egregious comments I have heard come out of the mouth of the President of the United States,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said. “I think the notion that ‘no constitutional right’ is absolute is something that our fourth graders are learning in civics class and hopefully President Biden can get a lesson from maybe his grandkids.”
Across the aisle in Missouri, Democrats said they’re willing to have a conversation over gun control.
“I don’t think people in my caucus believe that you shouldn’t have the right to defend yourself and that all guns are a horrible thing,” Senate Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, said. “But you’ll have to explain to them why assault rifles are readily available.”
Rizzo said he believes what’s already in state law is enough.
“I don’t know what other guns, outside of forcing people to be armed, I don’t know what more we could as a state do to make it a more gun-friendly state,” Rizzo said.
Instead, he said the Democrat caucus would much rather spend time on other things like the pandemic.
“Our caucus. is definitely more than willing to have a conversation about guns if in fact it’s brought up,” Rizzo said. “We rather just keep talking about how we are going to fund Medicaid if they don’t do it or create jobs.”
The “Second Amendment Preservation Act” is the legislation in Missouri lawmakers are working on. It protects Missourians from federal gun laws and would hold police departments liable for up to $50,000 if an officer violates a person’s Second Amendment Rights. It’s sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, a Republican from Republic.
The House passed House Bill 85 back in February and it passed out of a Senate committee hearing Thursday and now needs to be approved in front of the full Senate. Schatz said he’s ready to have that conversation as soon as possible.