Testimony on Chesterfield Firearms Restriction - 1/4/2012

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P.O. Box 300464

St. Louis, Missouri 63130


(314) 604-6621

Testimony on Proposed Bill No. 2868 – Restriction of Firearms “The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.” – Mo. Const. Art. I, Sec. 23. Good evening. My name is Dave Roland and I am the director of litigation for the Freedom Center of Missouri, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and constitutional litigation in the areas of free speech, economic liberty, property rights, religious liberty, and limited government. I am speaking tonight to make the Chesterfield City Council aware of the constitutional problems inherent in Bill No. 2868. The bill under this council’s consideration would amend Chapter 21, Article VIII, of the city code to prohibit Chesterfield’s residents from discharging a firearm or projectile weapon within one hundred fifty (150) yards of a house, dwelling or apartment if the purpose of firing the weapon is to defend “crops or other property.” I have been informed that it is the opinion of the City’s prosecuting attorney, Tim Engelmeyer, that this bill would even prohibit a citizen from the discharging a weapon to defend their home. The City Council has no authority to pass such a bill. Article I, section 23, of the Missouri Constitution plainly states that citizens have a right to bear arms in defense of their homes and other property. The constitution’s language is in no way ambiguous and it does not permit any government official to distinguish between the types of property that citizens are entitled to defend. No legislative body in this state may lawfully deprive citizens of this right; any attempt to do so, such as Bill No. 2868, would plainly and unquestionably violate this constitutional provision. If the Council does pass Bill No. 2868, the Freedom Center of Missouri will likely file suit to have the ordinance invalidated. It is my hope that, given the Missouri Constitution’s absolute clarity on this subject, the Council members will recognize that passing such a bill would violate the oath that each public official must swear to support the constitution of this state and, therefore, would not be an acceptable course of action. Respectfully,

Dave Roland Director of Litigation

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