File this one under idiotic state laws. Missouri state representative Mike Leara–a Republican– has filed a bill that would make it felony for state lawmakers to propose legislation that would affect the Second Amendment. Heres’ the entire text of the bill:
Any member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.
Holy crap. This is the depth to which the debate on guns has sunk in 2013!
Is Leara just making a stupid legislative joke? It’s pretty disgraceful for an elected official to submit a proposal that sounds more like something a teenage class clown might bring up in a middle-school student council as a way of calling attention to himself.
In a statement sent to Talking Points Memo, Leara said:
I filed HB 633 as a matter of principle and as a statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians. I have no illusions about the bill making it through the legislative process, but I want it to be clear that the Missouri House will stand in defense of the people’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
So, he has no illusions about it passing. Leara’s just making this ridiculous proposal purely for show. Someone needs to tell him that being a state representative entails sponsoring responsible legislation, not creating legislative stunts. Filing an outrageous bill like this one makes a sham of the legislative process, and signals that serious discourse is not on the agenda. It’s not funny. Guns aren’t funny. Gun violence is not a triviality. Leara’s bill is what some well-versed in Robert’s Rules of Order [otherwise known as parliamentary procedure] would dismiss as “dilatory.”
But, unfortunately, in today’s atmosphere of obstruction, gamesmanship and attempts at nullification of federal law, it’s not that much of an aberration.
Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.