Printable Guns; Limits On Big Money
August 08, 2018
We will miss Rep. Stacey Newman, whose tenure in the state legislature is coming to an end because of term limits. She provided a voice of reason in a sea of irrationality on the issue of guns and gun violence in the House Chamber in Jefferson City.
It has been sad to watch the state of Missouri devolve in regard to sensible gun laws, but the citizens of her district, covering Clayton, much of Richmond Heights, Brentwood and Ladue, can take pride that her example inspired other St. Louis lawmakers to take a stand on guns.
I can remember covering a rally 15 years ago when Gov. Bob Holden vetoed a Missouri concealed weapons bill. Speakers at the rally included doctors and police officials imploring the legislature not to undo the concealed weapons veto.
My Republican friends did not listen and overrode the veto, but they assured me that this was it – their NRA backers would not be asking any more of them. But then came more bills written by the NRA for "open carry," guns on college campuses and "stand your ground" laws to make it easier to react to perceived threats by pulling a weapon.
So where are we now on guns? What could possibly be next? Well, the latest outrage is the debut of 3D printable guns. These "downloadable" online guns are untraceable – the ultimate dream for felons, domestic abusers and terrorists. They are a nightmare for the rest of us.
So many state legislators, especially in rural areas, seem more interested in protecting guns than people. They are bought and paid for. They will do the bidding of the gun lobby, regardless of what polls show the majority of Missourians demand for the safety of their loved ones.
Perhaps the only answer is for the people to bypass the legislature and to govern themselves by state initiatives and amendments. When in the course of human events the people are no longer represented, the people must act to govern themselves.
Clean Missouri on Nov. 6
As the dust settles from this past Tuesday's election, we can see a classic example of how our state residents are choosing to govern themselves. That example is embodied in the Clean Missouri Initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Clean Missouri is about restoring democracy to the people. Among its important provisions:
• Requiring that legislative records be open to the public.
• Requiring legislators to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
• Eliminating almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly.
• Lowering campaign contribution limits to state legislative candidates to several thousand dollars.
Putting limits on big money flowing into our elections is the only way to end the rule of billionaires and billion-dollar organizations. These limits are a real threat to the "pay-to-play" political system that is now firmly in place.
Naturally, those who play the system and like it just fine, are putting millions of dollars in special interest money to kill Clean Missouri. And if voters approve the Nov. 6 initiative, you can bet these entrenched interests will pay even more to get legislators and the courts to try to undo the will of the people.
Missourians First is just the latest powerhouse group to be assembled to try to bring down Clean Missouri. Take a look at the legislators, lobbyists and political operatives who have enlisted in Missouri First and you will find a very suspect "honor roll" of those who thrive on big money in state politics.
For my money – which is far closer to Clean Missouri's contribution limits than to the plutocrat money defiling this state – I admire and trust the people who are in support of cleaning up the travesty that is Missouri politics.
Among Clean Missouri supporters are former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth and the Hon. Paul DeGregorio, who has spent a lifetime trying to keep elections honest.
Among organizations favoring Clean Missouri are Missouri Faith Voices and the Missouri League of Women Voters.
You can judge whether to ally with Clean Missouri or Missourians First by the company they keep. Given the company, this judgment should be easy to make — a no-brainer in November.