Saturday March 31, 2007
Permit-To-Acquire Going Away
It's a step in the right direction; Under current Missouri law, if a person sells or gives a small firearm to someone else, without first making the other person get a Permit To Acquire (PTA), then both people are guilty of a class A criminal misdemeanor. Missouri House Bill 462 would change that. If passed, HB462 would remove the much criticized PTA requirement and reduce the penalties down to an infraction (basically, a ticket) and at most a $100 fine. People would still be required to adhere to Federal 18 U.S.C. Section 922 however.
It's a start at reducing the daunting multitude of unnecessary gun restriction laws. It would also remove yet another opportunity for law abiding citizens to suddenly and unexpectedly become "criminals" who are "guilty" of a victim-less "crime".
House Bill 462 is sponsored by Representative Brian Munzlinger. This bill was recently reported as "do pass" on March 15th by the Missouri House.
( Mar 31 2007, 08:50:36 AM CDT )
Wednesday March 14, 2007
No Confiscation During Emergencies
The Missouri Senate today held a third reading for SB 257. This bill, if passed, would prohibit the confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition during a state of emergency in Missouri.
This bill is sponsored by
Senator Kevin Engler
from District 3, who is also the Majority Caucus Whip. This bill is being handled by the
Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
Now, if not sooner, is definitely the time to
contact your Missouri Senator and let it be known if you support this bill.
The irony of course is that we shouldn't even need to make this a law. It should already be taken as a given that such confiscations by government officials and law enforcement are prohibited. However, given the government ordered and sanctioned confiscations which have occured in recent years during emergencies, many states are passing laws very similar if not the same as this one.
online text of this bill and follow its progress.
( Mar 14 2007, 08:03:36 PM CDT )
Saturday March 03, 2007
Missouri "Castle Doctrine" Possibly Close to Final Passage
Senate Bill 62, labelled the Missouri "Castle Doctrine" legislation, was introduced into the Senate by State Senator
Jack Goodman of District 29. This bill is scheduled for a third
reading and possible vote on the Missouri Senate floor on Monday, March 5, 2007.
This bill is intended to amend
RSMo Chapter 563
of Missouri law covering the use of deadly force. If passed by the Senate, it would establish the "Castle Doctrine" for Missouri as well as providing for immunity to criminal and civil suits in cases of justified self-defense.
This bill has seen several modifications since its introduction. For example...
- The wording "any place a person has a lawful right to be" has been taken out of the online listed "Perfected" bill (563.0312.(2) and 3 - lines 26-31). The removal of this text has caused some consternation as it leaves only inside a person's dwelling, residence, or vehicle as places where Castle Doctrine protection can be claimed. Some proponents of this bill worry rural residents out on their property, but not in a home, for example, may be denied a Castle Doctrine defense because they were not in a "dwelling, residence, or vehicle". An alternate example expresses concern that someone placing groceries in their car trunk in a parking lot (a place where someone "has a legal right to be") could also be denied a Castle Doctrine defense with this wording. These sound like legitimate concerns, in light of how much courts and lawyers can be sticklers for the wording of the law.
- The inclusion of "criminal prosecution" as one of the immunities has been put back in the online listed "Perfected" bill (563.074.1). The House version had dropped this wording leaving only immunity to civil action. Proponents deam this item important as they fear it is entirely possible someone using a firearm in lawful self-defense could be found legally justified in using lethal force, yet still be charged with such things as brandishing a firearm, going in terror of the public, discharge of a firearm, criminal public endangerment, and etc.
This bill is scheduled for a Third Reading and possible vote in the Missouri Senate on Monday, March 5th, 2007.
Previously this bill passed the Missouri House as the combined
House Bill No. 189 & 60
( Mar 03 2007, 08:53:04 PM CST )
Welfare State "Bigger than Ever"
"The welfare state is bigger than ever despite a decade of policies designed to wean poor people from public aid."
Welfare State Growing Despite Overhauls
Columbia Tribune Online (AP News), February 26th, 2007.
So apparently after a decade of effort the welfare program wasn't really reduced. It was just sort of spread around more evenly amongst other government agencies. As well, it apparently now needs to increase expansion into more areas of job training to truely be successful.
Avoidance of Government Programs
"Libertarians understand that government agencies are the only organizations that grow when they fail, and that have a built in bias against truly solving problems. Government problem solving programs create government employees whose jobs may go away if they succeed, but whose jobs and power will expand if the problem gets worse. Libertarians are committed to finding practical ways to get government out of everything possible."
( Mar 03 2007, 09:20:29 AM CST )
Smoking Ban Consequences
Previously businesses which allowed smoking provided ashtrays, clean up, and proper disposal of all those cigarette butts left over from smokers. But not anymore. Now they're being dumped in the streets because inside ashtrays are forbidden and smokers must be 20 feet away from buildings. Now those butts are flowing into sewers, and washing into streams, ponds, and lakes. Now they're killing Daphnia.
Various Columbia officials and Health Department people have recently been quoted. They don't have funds for public ashtrays, plus it would send mixed messages about smoking. They hope businesses will step up and provide their own outdoor ashtrays and clean up. It's starting to be noted that it's the businesses' responsibility to clean the butts from their sidewalks and the people's responsibility not to litter in the first place. And apparently some consider littering even worse than smoking, which can only make one wonder what new ordinances and stronger fines will be imposed next.
Apparently they're not really having this problem so bad yet in Columbia because it's still cold out. However when it warms up and more people are outside... well, perhaps there will be new street sweeper positions open up with the City of Columbia in the Spring.
Before the smoking ban, businesses which allowed smoking voluntarily took on the extra effort to clean all their ashtrays and dispose of the butts. It appears now they will all be dumped in the street where they will blow around and get evenly distributed everywhere, so that all businesses can share the added time, effort, and expense of cleaning up the cigarette butts and wrappers.
The air may be cleaner inside the establishments, but now there are smokers standing 20 feet outside through whom patrons must thread their way to get inside,
inhaling second-hand smoke as they walk along the way. Afterward they have to thread their way back out again, inhaling more second-hand smoke. Before the ban, all the smokers got to sit and be warm over in their section of the establishment. The non-smokers could walk from their cars, along the sidewalk, and into the non-smoking section without inhaling second-hand smoke and not having to unstick menthol filters from the bottoms of their shoes.
Maybe these all sound like little things; minor annoyances and small reasons to be concerned. Remember however that it is the little things that add up. An ordinance here, a restriction there, bit by bit creating more government control in areas of our lives which simply don't need the arm and hand of government going around holding on to to us and
guiding us in the right way to live our lives.
Daphnia by the way, is a fresh water crustacean "often called a water flea", according to the online article
As the Smoke Clears in the Columbia Missourian (February 25th, 2007).
( Mar 03 2007, 12:14:38 AM CST )
Wednesday February 21, 2007
Self-Defense Right Protection During Emergencies
Introduced by Representative
Missouri House Bill 669 would amend RSMo 44 by adding one new section. This new section, if passed, would protect citizens of Missouri from firearms confiscation during state or local emergencies. As of this posting, this bill had been sent to the House Special Committee on General Laws.
The text of
reads in a simple and straightforward manner...
"44.101. The state, any political subdivision of this state, or any person shall not prohibit or restrict the lawful possession, transfer, sale, transportation, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition during an emergency."
Hopefully this bill will pass in both the House and the Senate. After all, what good is a right if it is immediately taken away when it is actually needed. Similar legislation has already passed in many other states.
( Feb 21 2007, 05:06:43 AM CST )
Tuesday February 20, 2007
Mo House Bill 189 Passes 143 - 3
Missouri House Bill 189 passed in the House of Representatives today by a vote of 143 yea to 3 nay. This bill will now move on to the Senate, where it has not yet been scheduled for a reading.
This bill is intended to amend
RSMo Chapter 563
of Missouri law covering the use of deadly force. This bill, if passed by the Senate, would establish the "Castle Doctrine" for Missouri as well as providing for immunity to civil suits in cases of justified self-defense. This bill was combined with House Bill 60, so you'll see it listed as
House Bill Nos. 189 & 60.
The bill was altered slightly as it passed through committee. The bill retained the defining conditions, as well as the assumption of justification under those conditions. It also retained defining that a person has no duty-to-retreat having met the conditions. However, in the wording for the immunity section, "criminal prosecution" was dropped, leaving only the immunity from civil action.
Still, despite the dropping of criminal prosecution protection, this is a large step forward for Missouri's self-defense rights.
Next the bill goes on to the Missouri Senate.
( Feb 20 2007, 05:10:14 PM CST )
Friday February 09, 2007
Mo House and Senate? Nobody Seems to Know... But You Should
What's the Missouri House and Senate doing? Nobody seems to know... but you should. The state and local levels of government are the two places individual citizens can have the most influence. Yet, so few people do. Often it seems like the vast majority of people don't even know what their representatives are doing, let alone do they ever participate or get involved.
Fortunately there's an easy way to get started. All those bills they're working on are available online. You can look at them. You can read them. You can see where they are today, how they've been evolving and changing, and when the next hearing will be for a given bill. Really, you can.
Try going here...
Missouri House of Representatives Bill Information
Start with the bill list. It's a bit unruly, but it will get you started. Find one that looks intrigueing and click on the link. Take House Bill 282 for instance. This bill creates the crime of motorcycle stunt driving. Sounds odd, let's click on it. Oops, there's two links there actually. The first one takes you to the bill's status. The second one takes you to the House member page of the person who is sponsoring the bill and lists a lot of information, including a House email address for the sponsor (keep that in mind for later).
Back on the bill status page, you can find out what actions have been taken on this bill, hearing dates, where it is on the House calendar, fiscal notes, and more. There's even a link for the text of the bill. Click on the link under "Bill Text for HB282". There, you can actually read the text of the bill they are working on.
Finished reading it? Are you asking yourself, "Why?". Why do we need a law for this? Okay, let's say someone does a short little wheelie out on some county back-road. Let's say nobody gets hurt and no property is damaged. Unfortunately this person is now guilty of a class C criminal misdemeanor. Do it again and it's a class A misdemeanor. Do it a third time, and guess what budy, you're a felon!
Does this sound like a useless law for a victim-less crime to you? Does it sound like a great way to divert the efforts of law enforcement away from more important tasks like catching murderers? Or does this sound like something you really want to see become law? Either way, remember that link to the sponsors House email address? Go on. Click on it. Now that you know what they're doing and what the text of the bill says and means, let the sponsor know what you think of their bill.
But don't stop there. Go back to the main House page. Look on the right, down just a little. See that box labelled "Legislator Look-Up"? All you need to do is enter your zip code and click the Go button. It'll list your Senators, your Representatives, your Congressman, and more.
And by the way, you can find the same type of information for the
So go ahead. Find out what they're up to. Let them know what you think. You should.
( Feb 09 2007, 06:41:16 PM CST )
The Right to Defend Yourself in Missouri May Take a Step Forward
Missouri House Bill 189 was introduced by Representative
(District 117) and had its first hearing on February 7th in the Missouri House Special Committee on General Laws. This bill is intended to amend
RSMo Chapter 563,
the section of Missouri law covering the use of deadly force.
In essence, this bill sets forth four changes to the current self-defense law. First, it defines the conditions under which a person can be presumed to be in fear for their life by death or great bodily harm. Second, it places into Missouri law that a law-abiding person, in a place where they have a legal right to be, is not required to first retreat. Third, it defines that a person under these conditions is assumed justified in their act of self defense, i.e.- the burden of proof in a court of law would shift from the defendant to the prosecution. Thus, it would be up to the prosecution to prove the person was not justified in using lethal force in self defense, as opposed to the current situation of the defendant having to prove they were justified in defending their life. Fourth, it clarifies that a person found legally justified in their act of self-defense is immune to criminal prosecution and civil law suits.
Under current Missouri law there is no definitive answer to the retreat or no-retreat question. Some States define that a person must first attempt to retreat ("Duty to Retreat"). Others define that a person is not required to retreat while in their home, occupied vehicle, or place of business ("Castle Doctrine"). Some States even define that a person is not required to retreat in the face of a lethal threat at all ("Stand Your Ground"). HB189 sets a "Castle Doctrine" definition for Missouri law.
It is worth noting that "criminal prosecution" includes arrest, as well as being charged with offenses related to the actions a person may have taken while defending their life. For example, if a person lawfully uses a firearm for self-defense, it is currently possible they could be additionally charged with brandishing a firearm, discharging a firearm, public endangerment, and other similar type charges. HB189 would remove the possibility of such add-on legal perils.
What may prove most beneficial from passage of this bill however, is the immunity from civil law suit. Part of the aim of HB189 is to prevent people found justified in their self-defense from being ruined by costly civil suits.
Currently this bill seems to have large body of support in the Missouri House. This is a good thing for Missouri's 2nd Amendment rights. Allowing people to defend themselves, with lethal force if necessary, is one of the corner-stones of an independent, free, and civil society. If a person be restricted from defending their own person, they either become dependant on the grace of government to protect them at best, or they become permanent and perpetual victims at worst.
For those who are interested, the
status of Mo HB189 is available on the Missouri House web site. Full text of HB189 can be read
( Feb 09 2007, 03:14:21 AM CST )