The Missouri Supreme Court will determine if they will uphold Amendment 5, which was passed by an overwhelming majority of the people last year. The amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right. Seem straightforward. Lower courts have ruled that Amendment 5 meant what it said in its clear language. The City of St. Louis claims that it really isn’t clear at all … because guns. But under Missouri law, judges aren’t allowed wiggle room to declare that a right only applies in a few rare circumstances, or that some fuzzy state purpose overrides that right . . .
The case hinges on whether Amendment 5 allows non-violent felons to own firearms.
“Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those adjudicated by a court to be a danger to self or others as result of a mental disorder or mental infirmity.
The city’s argument is essentially that guns are bad. More guns result in more bad things. People who commit felonies are more likely to commit more felonies. Therefore keeping them from having guns is a good thing. The Supreme Court can abrogate Amendment 5 because, well, because no one can stop them.
The state’s arguments are these: the Amendment means what it says. It differentiates between violent and non-violent felonies. The current law covers all felonies, therefore it’s not tailored to the Constitutional requirements, and should be struck down. The Court has the authority and the duty to uphold the will of the people as expressed in the amendment.
Even the ACLU of Missouri has come out on the side of upholding Amendment 5.
Here is the opening paragraph of their argument:
The federal constitution provides the floor, not the ceiling, for the liberty that is guaranteed to citizens against state governments. Even prior to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment—that is, before the Bill of Rights was incorporated to the States—the framers of Missouri’s Constitution and the voters of this State chose to enact a constitutional provision insuring an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Missouri has never mirrored the language of the Second Amendment.
A Court invalidating an amendment to the Constitution that was duly passed by the electorate is corrosive to the respect for and rule of law. It strikes at the heart of the idea of the consent of the governed, one of the key principles the United States is founded on.
That the consent of the governed is under assault isn’t too surprising; one of the core beliefs of elitists’ is that it’s up to them to “manufacture” such consent. In their view, it’s up to them to decide what the electorate should vote for. And when the voters make “incorrect” decisions, it’s up to the elite to fix their errors.
The Second Amendment is one of the errors that the current governing elite wants to correct. It remains to be seen if the Missouri Supreme Court will bow to the will of the people, or to the self-anointed elite.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.