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Letter to the Editor: Representative questions firearm rights, politics and freedom

Representative Rory Ellinger (D-University City) recently filed HB 545 that would make it a Class C Felony to manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell or transfer any “assault weapon” or large capacity magazine. Several other pieces of similar legislation have also been filed. While I try not to encroach into the minds of the individuals who support this legislation I could not help but ask myself why such legislation would appear as filed with the Missouri House of Representatives. Undoubtedly, these supporters believe fundamentally that firearms of this kind are unnecessary.

The argument I hear in Jefferson City repeatedly is do our constituents “need” these firearms in question. As a country did we need to fight the Civil War to free ourselves from the bonds of slavery? Did women need to march in the streets in the name of suffrage? Did the Allied Forces need to liberate Europe during WWII? Did Rosa Parks need to sit at the front of that bus to make her stand against racial discrimination? The answer to all of these questions is arguably no.  As Americans we have the duty to say yes.

Simply stated the foundation of this political battle is freedom and liberty. James Madison said Americans have the right and advantage of being armed–unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. The 2nd Amendment is enshrined within our Constitution because it is a linchpin in protecting all other freedoms and fundamental rights we hold against the tyranny of the government.

While as a legislature we have the obligation to support common sense regulations keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill the bottom line remains that we also must stand strong for our rights and constitutional protections–not let them be eroded.

Joe Don McGaugh
39th District State Representative

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