Gun Nullification Bill Again in Missouri?

In a version of the movie, Groundhog Day, a repeat of last session's gun nullification bill is being proposed for 2014 by Missouri State Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin).

Rather than addressing the rising gun violence in our communities, Sen. Richard advocates another draft of Missouri's "worst gun bill in the country", as referred to by national media. His proposed bill, again named the "Second Amendment Preservation Act", further attempts to nullify all past, present and future federal firearm laws.

As Missouri's own Yogi Berra would say, "It's déjà vu all over again."

This is an offensive misuse of the legislature's authority and time wasted on hours of debate at taxpayer expense. Last year's 25 NRA gun bills resulted in hours and hours of debate on the floor and in committees. It is clear this new draft, if passed into law, will head straight to litigation and be ruled unconstitutional according to existing law.

Again, Missouri will be lampooned -- again -- on The Daily Show and other national media and comedy shows. As a legislator who takes policy seriously, being known as a laughingstock state is getting a bit old.

For this to be a prime legislative priority of Sen. Richard's office, as he has announced, is suspicious.

I question Sen. Richard's motive after he defiantly voted to defeat the override attempt of the 2013 bill, only to announce his intentions to sponsor a similar bill the next year. What persuaded him to do this abrupt about-face?

By focusing on legislation designed solely to increase firearm ownership and industry profits, Sen. Richard is flagrantly ignoring gun violence victims without regard to anyone's safety.

I ask Sen. Richard put Missouri's children first, not pander to gun rights activists. I ask him to join me in sponsoring background checks for all gun sales, preventing criminals and the mentally ill from purchasing firearms. Universal background checks are supported by over 85 percent of Missourians, including gun owners and NRA members so why not get this done?

Child firearm injuries are on the rise with approximately 7,500 children shot each year -- a rising cause of childhood death. States with higher percentages of household firearm ownership tend to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.

The American Academy of Pediatricians, in addition to numerous physicians I work regularly with at St. Louis Children's Hospital and St. Louis Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, warn us over and over again that easy access to firearms increases the probability of death among children.

Our children deserve the right to grow up safely with protection.

The gun industry needs no further protection.