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Missouri lawmakers Loosen Gun Laws, Back Voter Photo ID

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature has used its supermajority to significantly loosen the state’s gun laws and potentially tighten its voting requirements as lawmakers overrode several vetoes of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

JEFFERON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Repub­li­can-led Leg­is­la­ture used its super­ma­jor­i­ty Wednes­day to sig­nif­i­cant­ly loosen the state’s gun laws and poten­tial­ly tight­en its vot­ing require­ments as law­mak­ers over­rode numer­ous vetoes of Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The sweep­ing guns leg­is­la­tion would allow most adults to car­ry con­cealed weapons with­out need­ing a per­mit while also expand­ing people’s right to defend them­selves both in pub­lic and pri­vate places. The elec­tions law change would require peo­ple to show a gov­ern­ment-issued pho­to ID at the polls start­ing in 2017, if vot­ers also approve a pro­posed con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

Both mea­sures passed with more than the required two-thirds major­i­ty in each cham­ber as Repub­li­cans shut off Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­cus­sion and enact­ed the laws on large­ly par­ty-line votes.

Law­mak­ers over­rode 13 vetoes Wednes­day while adding to Nixon’s record as the most over­rid­den gov­er­nor in Mis­souri his­to­ry, a dis­tinc­tion made pos­si­ble by an era of extreme polit­i­cal divi­sion in the Capi­tol. Head­ing into Wednes­day, law­mak­ers had suc­cess­ful­ly over­rid­den Nixon on 83 bills and bud­get expen­di­tures over his two terms in office — near­ly four times more over­rides than the com­bined total for all oth­er gov­er­nors dat­ing back to 1820 when Mis­souri was still a ter­ri­to­ry.

Nixon vetoed about two dozen mea­sures this year, includ­ing ones already over­rid­den this spring block­ing pay rais­es for home-care work­ers and chang­ing the state’s school fund­ing require­ments.

Among the addi­tion­al bills over­rid­den Wednes­day is one charg­ing fees rang­ing from $5 to $20 to Med­ic­aid patients who repeat­ed­ly miss doc­tors’ appoint­ments. But it’s uncer­tain whether that law actu­al­ly can take effect, because a spokes­woman for the Cen­ters for Medicare and Med­ic­aid Ser­vices says fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions don’t allow such fees.

The votes occurred as many law­mak­ers are cam­paign­ing for re-elec­tion in Novem­ber.

I think a lot of the things that we’ve done today will res­onate in the elec­tion in a very pos­i­tive way,” House Speak­er Todd Richard­son said.

The guns leg­is­la­tion prompt­ed some of the most intense debate Wednes­day.

Democ­rats assert­ed it could put racial minori­ties at a greater risk of being fatal­ly shot.

The tar­gets in our area are black boys, not pheas­ants,” said Sen. Maria Chap­pelle-Nadal, who rep­re­sents Fer­gu­son, where some­times vio­lent protests broke out after the fatal police shoot­ing of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. The white offi­cer was cleared of wrong­do­ing by state and fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tions.

What I don’t want to get to is the point where there is a trig­ger-hap­py police offi­cer or bad Samar­i­tan like Zim­mer­man who says, ‘Black boy in the hood. Skit­tles. Let’s shoot,’ ” Chap­pelle-Nadal said, a ref­er­ence to Trayvon Mar­tin, a black 17-year-old who was walk­ing back from a Flori­da con­ve­nience store after buy­ing ice tea and Skit­tles when he was fatal­ly shot by neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer George Zim­mer­man in 2012.

Repub­li­can said such fears of greater gun vio­lence are mis­guid­ed.

The basis of this whole bill is that it allows law-abid­ing cit­i­zens to pro­tect them­selves and their fam­i­lies,” Repub­li­can spon­sor Sen. Bri­an Mun­zlinger said.

The over­ride vote means Mis­souri will join 10 oth­er states with laws that allow most peo­ple to car­ry con­cealed guns even if they haven’t gone through the train­ing required for per­mits, accord­ing to the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, which sup­port­ed the leg­is­la­tion.

The mea­sure, described by sup­port­ers as “con­sti­tu­tion­al car­ry,” allows peo­ple to car­ry hid­den guns any­where they can cur­rent­ly car­ry weapons open­ly, effec­tive Jan. 1. Peo­ple who choose to still get a con­cealed-car­ry per­mit could poten­tial­ly car­ry their weapons into places off-lim­its to oth­ers and could take them to states with rec­i­p­ro­cal agree­ments.

The leg­is­la­tion also would cre­ate a “stand-your-ground” right, mean­ing peo­ple don’t have a duty to retreat from dan­ger any place they are legal­ly enti­tled to be present. The NRA says 30 states have laws or court prece­dents stat­ing peo­ple have no duty to retreat from a threat any­where they are law­ful­ly present. But Missouri’s mea­sure makes it the first new “stand-your-ground” state since 2011.

It also expands the “cas­tle doc­trine” by allow­ing invit­ed guests such as baby sit­ters to use dead­ly force if con­front­ed in homes.

Missouri’s pho­to ID mea­sure was opposed by the state NAACP, AARP and oth­er advo­cates for minori­ties and the elder­ly. In a let­ter explain­ing his veto, Nixon said the mea­sure would “dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly” impact senior cit­i­zens, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and oth­ers who have been law­ful­ly vot­ing but don’t have the gov­ern­ment-issued pho­to ID required under the bill.

But the Mis­souri mea­sure con­tains sev­er­al excep­tions that sup­port­ers hope will help it fare bet­ter in prospec­tive court chal­lenges than vot­er ID laws in some oth­er states. If Mis­souri vot­ers swear they don’t have pho­to IDs, they would still be allowed to vote by show­ing oth­er forms of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The bill also requires the state to pay for pho­to IDs for those lack­ing them, as well as for any under­ly­ing doc­u­ments such as birth cer­tifi­cates and mar­riage licens­es need­ed to get a state iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card. And if the state bud­get doesn’t include mon­ey for such costs, the ID require­ment would not take effect.

Even then, the require­ments wouldn’t take effect unless vot­ers this Novem­ber approve a pro­posed con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment, which is need­ed because the Mis­souri Supreme Court struck down a pre­vi­ous pho­to ID law in 2006 as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

Dur­ing debate Wednes­day, spon­sor­ing Repub­li­can Rep. Justin Alfer­man argued that the pho­to ID require­ment would “pro­tect our elec­tions against fraud.”

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Stacey New­man coun­tered: “This bill is vot­er fraud on its face.”

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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