Updated — The NRA-ILA has posted on their website a letter calling on members to contact their senator and ask them to oppose SB613 in light of Nasheed’s amendment. The release does not indicate whether or not the organization will score a 3rd reading vote. Opposition to the bill from NRA members could stifle the bill’s passage as Republican senators will have the difficult decision of voting against the NRA and being perceived as “anti-gun.”
The statement says that Nasheed’s amendment “seeks to create a de-facto gun owner registry as well as place unknown civil liabilities on the gun owner.” The release goes on to provide contact information for every Republican senator.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Last night, as the senate debated a bill that would nullify most federal gun laws and criminalize federal law-enforcement officers enforcing them in the state, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed attached an amendment that is now placing Republican senators in a difficult position.
Nasheed, A St. Louis Democrat, attached an amendment, which required gun owners to report to the police the theft of their firearm within 72 hours of becoming aware of the theft. Bill sponsor Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Franklin County, was largely favorable of the amendment. What he and his fellow Republicans didn’t know was that the amendment would place the bill squarely on the National Rifle Association’s radar.
In previous years, the powerful NRA has taken no position on bills in Missouri nullifying federal gun laws. Democrats have cited the NRA’s hesitance to support the bill as a sign of its out-of-touch nature. But last night, with the attachment of the 72-requirement, the NRA is now considering opposing the bill and even scoring the 3rd reading vote.
Nieves told The Missouri Times that he intended to meet with the NRA soon, but that ultimately it “did not matter at all,” for him if they opposed the bill.
“I don’t’ take marching orders from special interests,” Nieves said. “And this is a special interest I love, that I have a good relationship with. But if something is in line with the state constitution and the U.S. constitution, then what a special interest wants me to do is not a factor.”
Several Republican senators declined to comment on whether or not they had been contacted by NRA representatives, but sources within the Republican Party and the majority caucus did confirm that the NRA is now looking much closer at the legislation. One senate staffer said that, if the NRA threatened to rate the vote, a 3rd reading for the bill was “highly unlikely.”
NRA representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nasheed, who opposes Nieves’ bill, says she did not intend to get the NRA’s attention with her amendment, but that she “doesn’t mind” that the result might be the organization’s opposition to the bill.
“I think it’s a shame what the NRA has done to the Republican Party,” Nasheed said. “It’s disheartening. I don’t think my amendment does anything to take away 2nd amendment rights, and for them to put Republican’s back against the wall like this, that’s just not right.”
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.