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Nieves, Nasheed, respond to NRA opposition


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a display of strange bedfellows, Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Franklin County and Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, held a press conference today in which they defended an amendment attached to a gun bill that ignited NRA opposition to the legislation.

SB 613, which Nieves sponsors, would nullify swaths of federal gun laws and imprison federal law enforcement officials enforcing them. Similar language was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon last year and failed to override in the senate by two votes.d26-photo

Earlier this week, Nasheed attached a two-line amendment, which requires gun owners to report the theft of their weapon within 72 hours of becoming aware of the theft. The amendment is based on language in Nasheed’s SB 556, which includes lost weapons and creates a criminal penalty for failing to report. The amendment features no such provisions.

After the attachment of the amendment, the NRA issued a release on their website calling on members to contact senators to oppose the bill. Saying that the language created a “de-facto gun registry,” and that it opened gun owners to civil liabilities. Nieves, who is an NRA member and regular ally of the organization, called the statement from the NRA “intellectually dishonest.”

“I think the NRA is confusing Senator Nasheed’s amendment with her bill, 556,” Nieves told reporters today. “This amendment is two lines, and is absolutely not the language found in her bill.”

Nasheed, who opposes the underlying SB 613, said that the high rate of gun violence and gun theft in cities like St. Louis are what inspired her to attach the language. She said it was one of the few times she agreed with Nieves on firearms.

“I did this because it is the right thing to do,” Nasheed said. “I’m appalled by the NRA. If they want to represent gun owners in a safe and secure way, then what’s wrong with reporting if your gun is stolen?”

NRA lobbyist, Whitney O’Daniel, said that the bill would open gun owners up for civil liabilities and indicated the association would oppose the bill as long as Nasheed’s amendment is attached.

“Don’t put gun owners’ rights in peril,” O’Daniel said. “This amendment, they’ve clouded the water on 613 now. Do what you want with that bill, but understand we’ll always oppose something that creates more liability for gun owners. Nobody can demand what you do or don’t do with your property.”

Updated: Senate Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, told The Missouri Times that he had not decided what the next step for the caucus would be in pursuing gun legislation. Dempsey specifically said he had not ruled out options including reconsidering the amendment, picking up another bill, or simply voting on SB613 as is.