One of the legislative actions passed in this last Missouri session was a proposed Constitutional Amendment. The amendment, known as SJR 36, would add text to the state constitution that says the right to keep and bear arms is an ‘unalienable’ right. The current ballot summary follows.
[Proposed by the 97th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SCS SJR 36]
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?
State and local governmental entities should have no direct costs or savings from this proposal. However, the proposal’s passage will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice related costs. The total potential costs are unknown, but could be significant.
* Fair Ballot Language to be Completed by June 30, 2014.
The St. Louis Police Chief, and a Bloomberg surrogate from Mothers Demand Action, Rebecca Morgan, object. Chief Dotson is a well known gun-grabber.
JEFFERSON CITY • A Missouri judge denied a request Wednesday to stop election officials from distributing absentee ballots for a proposed state constitutional amendment dealing with gun rights.
Although he declined to issue a temporary restraining order, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem said he would consider whether to rewrite the summary for the Aug. 5 ballot measure as requested in a lawsuit brought by St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and a gun-control activist.
Absentee voting is to begin Tuesday on the measure, which was referred to the ballot by the Republican-led Legislature.
The summary that legislators prepared will ask voters whether to amend the Missouri Constitution “to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”
According to the lawsuit, the summary wrongly implies that the measure is establishing a constitutional right, when one already exists. It also contends the summary fails to note that the measure would require strict legal scrutiny of any laws restricting gun rights, including those limiting the ability to carry concealed guns.
Attorney Chuck Hatfield, who filed the lawsuit, said the ballot summary is insufficient and unfair. “The title says what’s already existing law — it doesn’t tell the voters anything — and then the title ignores all the things that are important, all the things that are actually changing,” Hatfield said.
A second lawsuit posing a similar challenge to the “fairness and sufficiency” of the ballot wording was brought Wednesday by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker.
Beetem rejected Hatfield’s request to block election officials from giving voters ballots containing the disputed wording while he considers the merits of the case. The judge gave no specific date for when he will rule on the request to rewrite the summary.
The proposed constitutional amendment was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who is running for state attorney general in 2016.
Schaefer, who attended the hearing, said afterward that the proposed standard of “strict scrutiny” for gun-rights restrictions would be a significant change. But Schaefer said he believed that was adequately conveyed by the summary’s wording about an “unalienable right” to bear arms.
The complete article can be found here.
The two suits are just more examples of the extremes the anti-gun radicals will go to suppress our Constitutional rights. The battle isn’t over. The Judge refused to block the release of absentee ballots. Those will be issued with the current ballot summary written by the Legislature. The
jury Judge is still out on the remainder of the lawsuits.