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Gun bill gives Missourians more options to defend themselves

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Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon numerates his points during a news conference at the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City, Mo., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. The governor covered the override bills being considered in a special session of the legislature. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Missourians have a fundamental right to defend themselves, their loved ones and their private property from threats of violence — a belief held by many that has been supported by Missourians time and again. SB 656 is built upon the belief that law-abiding citizens hold that right regardless of their location.

This common-sense legislation has become subject to a campaign of fallacies from its out-of-state, anti-gun opponents spurred by the Obama/Clinton/Bloomberg anti-freedom agenda. We need to ask ourselves who knows how best to defend ourselves if an unthinkable incident arises, or in times when the police aren’t there. The answer is Missourians, not the Bloomberg-funded nanny state groups trying to sway our opinions with distortions.

SB 656 is common-sense public safety legislation that is geared toward more perfectly aligning the law with the individual’s fundamental right to self-defense, which we as Americans hold to be a natural right. Under this law, defensive force protections currently given to property owners would be extended to all legal visitors through the expansion of castle doctrine. We all want our families, friends and even visitors capable of defending themselves if the need arises. SB 656 secures their safety and is focused on protecting law-abiding individuals.

Opponents of this important legislation falsely claim that its passage would place firearms directly into the hands of criminals and create an excuse for law-abiding gun owners to commit murder. These claims are as false as they are absurd. Nothing in SB 656 makes firearm possession legal for criminals and dangerous individuals. Current state and federal prohibitions would remain fully intact and continue to outlaw firearms for convicted felons, illegal drug users, individuals declared mentally incompetent and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.

SB 656 provides protection for law-abiding gun owners, not criminals who will inherently ignore its passage. Responsible and lawful gun owners are not waiting for passage of SB 656 to suddenly become violent and lawless. This claim is ridiculous and devoid of all logic, which is why the opponents stick strictly to these scare tactics designed to override logic with fear. Instead of evoking fear, SB 656 provides law-abiding Missourians the peace of mind and protection under the law should they have to stand up against the true criminals and exercise their constitutional right to self-defense.

Missourians come from a wide-range of lifestyles, and the current concealed-carry system can often times be a financial burden and hindrance for residents to exercise their right to protect themselves.

This is a flaw in the current law as high-crime areas and depressed economic areas frequently overlap, meaning that the law-abiding Missourians in these areas are less able to defend themselves. SB 656 offers an assortment of permit lengths and allows law-abiding citizens the option to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms without a permit, if they so choose. SB 656 does not do away with the concealed-carry weapons permit system, but rather enhances it. Sheriffs will issue CCW permits, and individuals who choose to pursue a permit will have additional privileges such as carrying their firearm across state lines while traveling. Law-abiding gun owners will be given greater flexibility, and the time commitment and fees associated with the process will be kept to a minimum.

The plain and simple truth is that people want to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. By expanding “stand your ground” laws, castle doctrine, permit options and the right to carry, SB 656 is about defending the innocent and allowing the innocent to defend themselves, against violent attack, which can strike anywhere and at any time.

The legislation does not put guns into the hands of criminals. It does not legalize the possession of firearms by criminals, nor does it circumvent the federal background check system. It does give concerned, lawful Missourians more options to defend themselves. With the veto of SB 656, Gov. Jay Nixon is pandering to a flagrant misinformation campaign led by out-of-state gun control groups pushing their anti-freedom agenda nationwide.

Law-abiding Missourians should not be denied their natural right to self-defense, and SB 656 does exactly that. The Legislature should override Gov. Nixon’s veto of this critically important public safety law.

Michael H. Blank of Town and Country is a research and design consultant and owner of Gen X Arms & Ammunition.

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