Mid-Missouri Republicans campaign on support of gun bill
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A few Columbia-area Republican candidates held a rally at the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville to celebrate the veto override of SB 656, colloquially known as the “gun bill.”
Rep. Chuck Basye, along with Republican candidates for representative Cheri Reisch of Hallsville and Don Waterman of Columbia attended the event. Rep. Caleb Rowden, who is running for state Senator against Rep. Stephen Webber, was slated to attend but he could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
A few dozen people attended the event where Basye and the General Assembly-hopefuls spoke enthusiastically about what the new law meant for the state.
Basye said that it was touch-and-go whether or not the bill would pass given the resignations of Reps. Ron Hicks and Tony Dugger and the absences of Reps. Anne Zerr and Mike Leara on the vote. But he said the caucus got the result they wanted.
“I know there was some worry because there was a lot of pressure on some of my colleagues,” he said. “In our meeting after, [Speaker Todd Richardson] said he realized that a lot of people made some very tough votes based on the dynamics of their district,” Basye said.
Reisch was also pleased with Wednesday’s outcome. She even visited Jefferson City to witness proceedings.
“I’m a constitutional person, so I think it’s one of your rights,” she said. ““Criminals are always going to have guns. We want the good guys to have guns.”
Waterman, a competitive shooter, said that the new law would allow Missouri citizens to forgo hurdles to gun ownership. He relayed a story of himself working at a Bass Pro Shop while in living in Chicago.
“The hoops people had to go through to buy a firearm, especially handguns, was ridiculous, and it wasn’t helping,” he said.
Chicago currently has a rising murder rate, mainly due to gun violence, despite its status as one of the most gun control centered states.
Waterman will likely have the toughest path to winning election given the more liberal composition of his district. Rep. Stephen Webber is the departing representative for that seat, and Martha Stevens, the Democrat running to replace him, has widespread support among the more liberal district. Basye will face off against retired teacher Susan McClintic in a highly contestable district.