Stifling Republican Government Because Freedom


Let us consider what is wrong here

Yesterday, Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara (R) proposed legislation making it a felony for lawmakers to so much as propose many bills regulating guns. Leara’s bill provides that “[a]ny member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.”

“Republican government” in the title refers to republic, “A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them,” says the dictionary. Apparently Rep. Leara thinks this republicanism thing is a threat to freedom, and he’s going to nip it in the bud.

The biggest problem with the bill, however, is that it almost certainly violates the Missouri Constitution, which provides that “[s]enators and representatives . . . shall not be questioned for any speech or debate in either house in any other place.” Although there are very few court decisions interpreting this clause in the Missouri Constitution, the United States Constitution contains a parallel clause guaranteeing that federal lawmakers shall not be called to account for “any Speech or Debate in either House” of Congress, and courts commonly interpret parallel provisions of state and the U.S. Constitution to have similar meanings.

In other words the Constitution protects the freedom of legislatures to propose any damnfool thing they want, because the guys who wrote the Constitution trusted the process of republican government. That is, they trusted the wisdom of voters and the constitutional process by which laws are proposed, debated, passed (or not) and possibly challenged in court if the law is unconstitutional. Leara reveals he isn’t having any of that, and wants to restrict the process to secure the outcome he desires.

Freedom, Mr. Leara? Yep, that’s what he says

Leara’s bill comes amidst a flurry of red state legislation aimed at nullifying any new firearms regulations coming out of Washington in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. (The White House and other supporters of new gun control have said over and over their proposals do not violate the Constitutional right to bear arms.)

Unlike some of the sponsors of those bills, Leara said he doesn’t expect his bill to pass. He filed the bill criminalizing certain bill language to make a point about freedom, he said.

“I filed HB 633 as a matter of principle and as a statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians,” he said in a statement sent to TPM Tuesday. “I have no illusions about the bill making it through the legislative process, but I want it to be clear that the Missouri House will stand in defense of the people’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Are we being nibbled to death by Stupid, or what?

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 20, 2013 @10:34 am

    I’m not sure they’re just nibbling, maha – seems like they take some good chunks out every once in a while.

    If only we could look at Republicans, not as politicians representing people, but performance artists out to make some point or other, we might feel better.

    Today’s Republicans are less the “Daddy Party,” and more the “Dada Party.”

    But no collection of performance artists could ever do as much damage as these stupid and ignorant Nihilists have done, and are looking to do.

    Why, oh why, great FSM, did you make breathing an involuntary reflex?

  2. PurpleGirl  •  Feb 20, 2013 @10:40 am

    Rep. Leara needs to see a neurologist stat for examination and an MRI. I fear that his brain is dangerously compromised by a degenerative condition of some sort — perhaps even filled with empty spaces from a series of small strokes.

    The stupid it burns.

  3. joanr16  •  Feb 20, 2013 @11:01 am

    Hooray! We have the absolute right to be shot to death in America! Thank you, “Second Amendment” morons!

  4. Swami  •  Feb 20, 2013 @11:10 am

    Wow! A clear illustration of how the political arena has degenerated. Somebody clearly doesn’t understand the Constitution or the basic concept of freedom. It’s beyond stupidity! No clue.

    I can made a point by the use of absurdity also, but I’ve never gone that far out.. Leara should be awarded the explorer badge of stupidity.

  5. paradoctor  •  Feb 20, 2013 @11:38 am

    I.F. Stone, in “The Trial of Socrates” referred to that Constitutional guarantee of free speech to any legislator; it goes back to Ancient Athens, where it was called “isogoria”. It is, you note, a free-speech guarantee that precedes the Bill of Rights.

    I do not think Leara is necessarily “stupid”, merely tyrannical. Ideologically anti-republic. He covers his thuggish logic with freedom-esque happy-talk. Maybe he believes his double-think; in which case he is stupid after all.

  6. paradoctor  •  Feb 20, 2013 @1:38 pm

    I meant that isogoria was written into the Constitution before general free speech was written into the Bill of Rights. As an ancient Athenian right, isogoria also preceded America, and indeed even the English language.

    How did Leara intend to enforce his plan? For instance, was there to be an official Censor of Assembly Speech? And who was to give the Censor his list of forbidden words? And was debate over the Censor also to be censored?

    I notice that the NRA’s public safety plan is armed guards in every school, church, movie theater, shopping mall, and on and on; which defines a police state. Slavery is freedom.

  7. Marcia Zuvanich  •  Feb 20, 2013 @2:30 pm

    Why aren’t congressment – senators and house members – required to at least READ the Constitution before taking office. Better yet, they should have to pass a test on their knowledge and how it applies to the lawmaking process.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 20, 2013 @3:08 pm

    I get your point, and it’s a good one.
    But the problem is, the Constitution was pretty broadly written, and, for the past 200+ years since it was originally written, and the ensing Amendments, we can’t even get lawyers on the Federal or Supreme Courts to agree on how to interpret the document. And those people are usually considered to be, the lawyer’s lawyers!’

    Now, look at you state’s legislature, and the US Congress – sure, there a lot of lawyers, but a lot of those dumb@$$es have law degree’s from places little better than “Bubba’s Ye Olde Law Emporium/Bait & Tackle Shop.”
    I’ve met some brilliant attorney’s.
    I’ve also met a lot who would be hard-pressed to beat a komquat in an IQ test.
    The key isn’t just that members of Congress know what’s in the Constitution, my guess is, that whether it’s Yale or Bubba’s, most are law school graduates, and so, have at least a decent idea of what’s in it – but it’s also important to know how they’re looking to interpret what they see in there.
    Ted Cruz and Barack Hussein Obama are both very accomplished lawyers, both know the Constitution inside and out, but have very different views of what it all means. Cruz is probably an “Originalist,” while Obama feels that the Constitution is a living document.
    So, my feeling is, I want to know what politicians and political candidates think the Constitution means regariding what our goverment can and cannot do, more than they know what’s in there.
    That’ll tell me more than a multiple-choice test, or a fill-in the blank test. I want essays.
    Them’s my $0.02 worth.

  9. Swami  •  Feb 20, 2013 @4:06 pm

    gulag ….Essays aren’t gonna help…The guy is just being an asshole..To make it a felony for a lawmaker to do their job? It’s not like they don’t know any better…Partisan politics has evolved into a circus, and Leara is just another clown in the show.

    Ultimately, it’s the fault of the American public for electing clowns of Leara’s caliber..Destroy the first amendment to protect the second?

  10. biggerbox  •  Feb 20, 2013 @4:11 pm

    It’s surprising to me how many of these guys seem to have never wondered why it is the SECOND Amendment. It’s because there was one that came before it. Something about no laws abridging the freedom of speech, and what-not, as I recall.

  11. Riverflow  •  Feb 20, 2013 @7:42 pm

    Of course these nuts know these sorts of laws won’t pass. The ‘point’ isn’t to get such laws passed or even to stand on some principle of ideological purity– the real point is to appeal to voters the next time around to keep voting for him *because* he ‘stands on principle.’ Its just another attempt to push the Overton Window further to the right by pushing for something so outlandish that something not-quite-so-outlandish sounds reasonable by comparison. These people aren’t stupid and they aren’t crazy– they know precisely what they are doing and they have the patience to do it. And that is what makes people like Leara so dangerous– combined with a media that treats people like them with kid gloves and an uneducated public that has been conditioned by fear. It is all about appealing to the base, in both senses of the word.

  12. justme277  •  Feb 20, 2013 @9:29 pm

    So here is what amazes me about the gun debate: There is no right they believe out weighs the second ammendment on the pro gun side. And before you accuse me of painting with a broad brush, pay attention to the voices speaking out .. I don’t hear the “reasonable” gun folks speaking out/ calling out the gun nuts on their bullshit..So if you don’t want to be part of the broad brush the public would love to hear from you if you want to stand up to these idiots who look insane as hell and say “Enough is enough already!” before their nonsense ends up being the reason guns are eventually banned. I am fed up as hell with the gun crowd shoving their rights to guns down my throat – It is a great big, giant “FUCK YOU” to the rest of my constitutional rights and if I don’t like it , tuff shit, the man with the gun wins right? Free speech?– put it on a target and blow it away- GUNS! Kids and their whine fest about a right to live- fuck you ! Guns! Elections? Only if we say so , otherwise GUNS! The second trumps em all, except for one thing- it doesn’t. I don’t give a shit who is interpreting it, not one of them can tell me the second is trump that voids the rest of the constitution or the rights of a nation no matter how far the supreme has his head lodged in his backside. We(meaning everyone who is not a insane gun nut- so a majority of us) are doing a major dis- service to our selfs in allowing those in the lunatic fringe let the rest of our rights take a back seat to the second. If they get their way the second will be the only right left.

  13. paradoctor  •  Feb 21, 2013 @2:16 am

    Part of the beauty of isogoria, as with free speech in general, is that it gives fools opportunity to identify themselves. Leara used isogoria – freedom of speech in the assembly – to argue against isogoria; and thus proved himself to be a fool, of the petty-dictator censor variety.

  14. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Feb 21, 2013 @5:51 pm

    I don’t hear the “reasonable” gun folks speaking out/ calling out the gun nuts on their bullshit

    There aren’t any.

    Okay, not quite, but… there was this big gun guy, hunter and pro-gun activist who put up a blog post or somesuch about how he didn’t get the point of pinging groundhogs with an AR15 (or assault rifle, or something like that). Shortly after, he updated how he felt he was wrong – whatever gun you want to use is really fine with him, he was just tired and cranky when he’d said what he said. (This is all paraphrased.)

    Instant censure; he’d broken the party line, and had to be punished.

    (I believe he’s earned his way back into the good graces by now.)

    There is no “reasonable” allowed.

    I was pleased to see Joe Biden doing his best, saying that if you want to defend your home, you don’t need an AR 15, use a shotgun instead (cheaper, easier to use, and probably scarier). But he’s not officially “gun folks”.

  15. maha  •  Feb 21, 2013 @6:16 pm

    Years ago, as I remember, Ozark conventional wisdom was that a shotgun was the weapon of choice for home defense. I don’t remember why, but I do remember people saying that.

  16. Dan  •  Feb 21, 2013 @8:25 pm

    1) Shotguns allow for much lower aiming necessity, a hugely significant factor when your heart is racing and you are shaking like a leaf.
    2) Additionally, the lethal range of unimpeded shotgun pellets is much shorter than any other projectile, so that misses are less likely to cause unintended damage/injuries (though there are many more projectiles, most of which will miss).
    3) The pellets are also stopped by much flimsier materials than bullets, allowing more containment in the defended space (which is almost always indoors).

    The downside is that shotguns tend to be longer than many other gun choices (as long as actual hunting rifles), making maneuverability in close spaces more difficult.

    The maneuverability of the assault-style rifle (a term invented and marketed by gun manufacturers until it was turned against them in the ’92 legislation), a factor both of its shorter barrel and its pistol grips, is one of the qualities that make people mistakenly believe they are better for self-defense than they are. Most pistols are very inaccurate in self-defense situations.

    Anything more capable than a .22 will create enough flash and bang to encourage ‘bad guys’ to retreat, in that infinitesimal number of cases where their use seems like a good idea to rational folks.

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