Missouri Senate caves to NRA pressure, changes bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a demonstration of the power of the NRA, Missouri Senate Republicans stripped out a Democratic amendment to a gun bill that they had approved last week.

The amendment required gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police within 72 hours after they discover the weapon is missing, a provision that its sponsor said was necessary to crack down on urban crime. The Senate approved the amendment a week ago and gave preliminary approval to the overall bill, Senate Bill 613 that nullifies federal gun laws, the same evening.

But the National Rifle Association didn't like the amendment, and because of it decided to oppose the entire bill.

"Now, because you have one special interest group that has decided to oppose this amendment, everyone decides to run," said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat and sponsor of the amendment. Nasheed spoke for almost five hours to defend the amendment, but ultimately the Missouri Senate voted 22-9 late Monday along party lines to remove it.

While Nasheed criticized Republicans, Republican Sen. Brian Nieves of Washington, Mo., the bill's sponsor, aimed his own rhetorical firepower at the NRA, saying the organization had lied about the amendment.

"My opinion of the NRA has been damaged tremendously in this process," Nieves said. "Unfortunately, the NRA seems to be of the opinion that they don't have to tell the truth about things. They don't have to address things from the position of reality. Instead all they have to do is flex their muscles."

When the amendment initially was passed, the NRA said it has opposed similar legislation nationally for years. By requiring gun owners to tell police when firearms are missing, it "seeks to create a de-facto gun owner registry," the association said.

The NRA's statement said those who failed to report within 72 hours would be subject a $1,000 fine and guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

That wasn't true. Nasheed's amendment had no fine nor enforcement mechanism of any kind.

Missouri Senate Bill 613 for 2014


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