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House Approves Bills Focused on Protecting the Second Amendment Rights of Missourians (HB 170 and HB 436)

The ongoing fiasco with the Department of Revenue has reinforced the fact that, as a state, we must remain ever vigilant in our defense of the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. The truth is there are federal bureaucrats who want to diminish the gun rights of law-abiding Missourians, and we have seen a push on the federal level to move toward more restrictions on gun owners. It is a philosophy that runs contrary to the way the majority of Missourians believe, which is that our fundamental right to keep and bear arms must not be infringed upon or weakened.

This week the Missouri House stood together to send a strong message that we will not allow the Second Amendment rights of Missourians to be eroded, and in fact that our legislative body supports stronger gun rights for law-abiding citizens. One bill (HB 170) would make federal laws that restrict gun ownership or require registration of a gun or magazine unenforceable in Missouri. In fact, it would make it a felony offense for any federal agent or official to attempt to enforce federal laws that violate our Second Amendment rights.

Another bill we approved (HB 436) reinforces that stance by establishing the Second Amendment Preservation Act. In essence, the act says that any past, present or future federal acts, laws or orders that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms will be considered null and void and of no effect here in Missouri. In fact, the bill makes it the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies of Missouri to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms within the borders of the state.

In effect, both bills work together to give our state a shield that we can use to protect Missourians from the overreaching attempts of the federal government to infringe upon our Second Amendment rights. As one of my colleagues said on the House floor, “We, as a legislative body in Missouri, are going to have to put ourselves between the citizens of Missouri and the federal government when it comes to one of our most basic, fundamental, constitutional rights.” That is exactly what these bills do, which is why I was happy to support them both.

It is also worth noting that several significant amendments were added to both bills during discussion on the House floor. One would allow schools to designate certain personnel as “protection officers.” The officers would be allowed to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The also would require them to complete a training course established by a state peace officer training commission. This is a way of providing our schools with another way to protect children from those who might do them harm.

Other amendments would lower the age requirement to carry a concealed weapon from the current age of 21 down to 19; allow concealed weapon permit holds to “open carry” with firearms less than 16 inches in length; and would exempt private firearm transactions from federal criminal background check requirements.

Pro-life Legislation Receives House Approval (HB 400)

Also this week I joined my colleagues in supporting a piece of pro-life legislation that would strengthen the requirements for the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Right now, women can take the first round of the medication in the presence of a doctor, but can then take the second drug at home 1 to 2 days later. The bill we approved would change current law so that a physician would have to be present any time an abortion-inducing drug is used.

The idea with this change is to ensure there is face-to-face contact between a woman seeking an abortion and a doctor. The primary emphasis is on protecting the health and wellness of the woman by ensuring the doctor continues to be responsible for her physical and psychological wellbeing. It is extremely important that the doctor continue to be involved in the care of a woman who uses an abortion-inducing drug because these drugs have been known to have serious side effects. Also with this, we can ensure that any questions the woman may have can be answered and that proper informed consent is obtained.

Another important reason for the bill is that it will help prevent the recent increase we have seen where women taking these medications interact with their doctor by online means only. These “webcam” abortions are not safe and do not allow for the doctor to properly care for the woman. The legislation we approved would put an end to this disturbing trend and ensure women interact with their doctors and receive proper care.

As always, it is an honor to serve the good folks of the 153rd District. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-1066 or you can e-mail me at steve.cookson@house.mo.gov .

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