The worth of a person can be determined by how he or she responds in time of crisis.
After 20 children were murdered in a shooting spree last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. the New York legislature quickly took steps to try to stop the gun madness that has enveloped this country.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday that places stiff restrictions on assault weapons and magazines. The bill was passed by an overwhelming majority of both houses.
That's New York. In Missouri, our elected representatives acted in an entirely different manner.
As we wait to hear the proposals President Obama will make today, most likely reinstating the assault weapons ban, restricting magazines, instituting universal background checks, and closing the gun show loophole, 62 of our legislators made it known how they would react to anything the president says or does.
They do not plan to obey any federal law or regulation concerning guns from this point on.
"Law of the land." To Rep. Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, that phrase is a myth. HB 170, which Guernsey is sponsoring, corrects that myth -- the law of Missouri is the only law that matters and if the federal government disagrees with that, we are in open rebellion.
HB 170 calls for the following:
It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of this state, or any political subdivision, or any federal firearms dealer licensed under 19 U.S.C. Section 923 to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the boundaries of the state of Missouri.
2. Any official, agent, or employee of the federal government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the borders of the state of Missouri shall be guilty of a class D felony.
It will be a felony to follow federal law.
And Missouri taxpayer money will be spent to defend anyone who crosses the federal government, according to the bill. Anyone who disobeys a federal gun law will be able to call on the state's attorney general for help.
Guernsey's bill has 61 co-sponsors, including all five who represent the Joplin area of the state where I live.
Following the same principle that state legislators have used concerning Obamacare, our officials have simply said, "It does not apply to us."
Meanwhile, the state takes its own approach to fighting the problem of gun violence in our schools and our society. We have a bill that would require all first graders to take NRA gun safety courses. Another bill would put weapons in the hands of classroom teachers.
And the latest, filed late last week, would put a tax on violent video games.
Anything except address the problem.
The message sent by Casey Guernsey's bill is clear:
-This state will do nothing to limit access to the kind of high-powered weapons that no one outside our police or military need.
-This state will do nothing to ensure that criminals or those with mental problems have no access to guns.
-This state will do nothing to close the gun show loophole.
This state will do nothing, except cross our fingers and hope that it is not one of our elementary schools that is the next target of a crazed gunman.
That brings all all-new meaning, and a horrifying one, to the term "Show-Me State."