Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Reckless or Visionary?

Jax Hudur

Governor Mike Parson, moments before signing HB 85pbs.com

On Saturday the 12th of June 2021, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed HB 85 into law, a bill that seeks to establish the “Second Amendment Preservation Act, which means Missouri law enforcement agencies are barred from executing federal gun laws. The new law also invalidates past, present, and future federal gun laws, effectively stopping the Missouri local police from assisting federal agents in enforcing federal gun laws.

 Suppose the Missouri local police ignore the new law. In that case, the new legislation allows for a $50,000 lawsuit to be slapped against any officer who enforces federal laws and deprives Missourians of their second amendment rights. As the Governor puts it, the new law is to “stand up to the government,” and he is not mincing his words as the new law essentially invalidates the registration of weapons, including taxing and tracking.

 A statement released by the Missouri Governor stated,

“Throughout my law enforcement career and now as Governor of the State of Missouri, I have and always will stand for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights. This legislation today draws a line in the sand and demonstrates our commitment to reject any attempt by the federal government to circumvent the fundamental right Missourians have to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their property.” The Missouri Governor, in the same statement, went on to say, “HB 85 puts those in Washington D.C. on notice that here in Missouri we support responsible, law-abiding gun owners, and that we oppose government overreach and any unlawful efforts to limit our access to firearms.”

Missouri Governor signs controversial bill HB 85 into law banning local enforcement of federal gun laws

Gun control in the United States is one of the most divisive political subjects where proponents for and against gun control seem to never agree on anything gun-related. And yet, by the end of the year 2020, 689 people were killed in gun violence in Missouri, earning the State the unenviable position of the third-highest per capita rate of gun violence. 

The Washington Post reports that the year 2020 was also the deadliest gun violence year in decades, and 2021 is posed to be the worst. Gun violence has killed a total of 43557 people, of whom 19409 deaths were because of homicide. The Gun Violence Archive reports that this past weekend alone, 120 Americans lost their lives to shootings. The statistics show that gun violence in Missouri is not getting better. It is getting worse, and the Governor’s stand against Washington, as he puts it, only endangers more lives.

Governor Mike Parson has been a law enforcement officer himself and has perhaps seen gun violence first-hand. However, when the Missouri Governor signed the bill into law surrounded by the folks from the Frontier Justice and inside a gun store with a full display of firearms, one must ask, does the Governor represent the welfare and the people of Missouri or the business interests of gun stores? What message does the Governor’s choice of venue send to Missourians who have been victims of gun violence as the State is in the top ten list of worst States affected by gun violence?

Gun Violence Deaths in the United States in 2021Gun Violence Archive

Missouri’s House Minority Leader, Chrystal Quade, declared Missouri’s refusal to follow federal gun laws as unconstitutional. In a statement, the House Minority Leader said,

“House Bill 85 is a radical, dangerous and obviously unconstitutional attempt to declare that Missouri will refuse to follow federal gun laws. When people are looking for real solutions on crime, policing and public safety, Governor Parson and the Republican legislature have instead chosen to preserve Missouri’s growing reputation for extremist and dangerous laws. The new law even allows criminals who violate federal gun law to sue our local law enforcement officers for a minimum $50,000 fine if they in any way assist with federal investigations. It quite literally defunds the police and gives that taxpayer money to convicted criminals. It is long past time for Republicans in Jefferson City to stop the political grandstanding, take their jobs as leaders seriously and pass real solutions to crime in our State.”

While democrats and the Biden administrations have been calling for more strict gun legislation, Republicans seem to have dug in and have gone in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, residents like Missourians will pay the price of the partisan political standoff on gun control that seems like an impossible task considering the mass shootings that have recently been dominating the news headlines. 

For Missourians, However, the statistics will prove whether the Missouri Governor’s nullifying of the federal gun laws is a reckless danger that further escalates gun violence in Missouri or a visionary who understands the needs of Missouri. In either case, I think it is unfortunate that in 2021 American politics, partisan zero-sum thinking across the country’s political spectrum is the obstacle to a solution for the rampant gun violence coupled with the new unrestrained gun laws and impacting states like Missouri. What do you think?

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I write about history, politics and true crime. Not to mention anything else that takes my fancy or newsworthy. "No special talents. Only passionately curious." Albert Einstein


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