Anti-Gunners Faceplant in Attempt to Amend Missouri Constitution – Bearing Arms

Anti-Gunners Faceplant in Attempt to Amend Missouri Constitution – Bearing Arms

A high-profile effort to wipe out Missouri’s firearm preemption law and allow cities like St. Louis to establish their own local restrictions has been shelved after gun control activists discovered that their idea wasn’t nearly as popular with voters as they thought it would be. We covered the launch of Sensible Missouri’s attempt to amend the state constitution last summer, noting that if the activists concentrated their signature-gathering efforts in deep blue cities like St. Louis and Kansas City they might be able to collect the 171,000 names necessary to put their petitions on the ballot this November, but as it turns out the group never bothered to start the petition process.

The group did polling on which specific question would merit the most support from a petition campaign, but in August, University of Missouri-St. Louis professor emeritus Richard Rosenfeld, one of the Sensible Missouri’s leaders, told Spectrum News that the results didn’t look good and that efforts were on hold.

Rosenfeld died in January.

A source tells Spectrum News that another organized effort to put a gun-related question up for a statewide vote played a role in Sensible Missouri’s decision to stand down last fall. That effort also never officially materialized.

“There were questions about the timeline and other constitutional amendments that made us think this cycle was not the right time,” Sensible Missouri said in a statement.

Oh sure, the timing was the problem, not the proposals themselves. If you believe that, I have a barely-used arch in St. Louis I’d like to sell you. 

I wish Sensible Missouri had put signature gatherers in the field and managed to scrounge up the signatures necessary to put their petitions on the ballot. It would have been fun to watch their proposals go down in flames on Election Day. As I pointed out when the group first announced its plan last June, there’s nothing in the state’s recent electoral history that even hinted at a chance of success for the gun-grabbers. 

There were only two statewide races on the ballot in Missouri last year, but Republicans won both of them handily, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt winning the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs over Democratic candidate Trudy Busch Valentine by a 55-42 margin and Scott Fitzpatrick trouncing his Democratic opponent by 22 points in the race for State Auditor. Republicans hold every statewide office, both U.S. Senate seats, and a majority of both chambers of the state legislature. Even though the anti-gunners would only need a bare majority to repeal the state’s preemption law via a ballot initiative, they’d still have to outperform Democratic turnout by hundreds of thousands of votes in a presidential election year where conservative turnout is expected to be strong. In 2020 Donald Trump won the state over Biden 57-41, with a raw vote total of 1,718,736 compared to Biden’s 1,253,014.

Democratic lawmakers in Jefferson City insist that Missourians are clamoring for more gun control laws. Still, there’s absolutely no evidence that anyone outside of their dwindling base of support believes they’d be safer with more restrictions on their right to keep and bear arms. 

I’d say congratulations to Missouri gun owners for all their hard work in defeating this proposed referendum, but truthfully, they didn’t need to lift a finger to see the anti-gunners flame out. This was a self-inflicted faceplant on the part of Sensible Missouri, which, as it turns out, was offering a nonsensical “solution” to violent crime that couldn’t get off the launching pad before it imploded.  

Sensible Missouri says it has now shifted its efforts to 2026, so I suppose we shouldn’t write off the group completely, but based on their anemic and aborted attempt at enshrining local gun control in the state constitution this election cycle, I wouldn’t be surprised if their future efforts fail just as spectacularly two years from now.

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