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Missive #17

Patches is much better. She climbs the steps slowly and is somewhat unsteady in doing it but does not hesitate when told to go into Desperado. Last week, and for the prior couple of months, she didn’t want to climb the stairs. I knew she must be suffering because she was no longer the Patches that I have known for eleven years. Not much better about peeing in her bed however; she did that again.

Spoke Too Soon, or
Never Underestimate the Mendacity of Your Political Enemies

By John Ross

Copyright 2003 by John Ross.  Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given.

    In my last column I took some pride and pleasure in the results of the decade-long group effort to restore the most important civil right to Missouri residents.  Missouri’s License-To-Carry law was to have gone into effect October 11. 

    A few days before this date, a varied group of anti-carry individuals filed a motion for a temporary injunction to hold up the implementation of Missouri’s License-To-Carry law.  The judge told them they did not have standing in the case, so they added the Sheriff of the City of St. Louis as a defendant.  They listed a bunch of imaginative reasons: 1) The law was “vague;”  2) A referendum was held four years ago on a similar issue, so the legislature didn’t have the right to take the matter up again (I’m not making this stuff up); 3) The law violated the prohibition on unfunded mandates (other states turn a profit on $25 licenses but Missouri will apparently lose money on a $100 one); and best of all, that the License-To-Carry law was unconstitutional.  The strategy of these people seems to have been to throw a bunch of mud and see what sticks.

    At 4:00 PM St. Louis City judge Steve Ohmer dismissed the first three claims in clear, confident language.  Then I watched as he fumbled for his water pitcher, seemed to think better of the idea, put it aside, licked his lips, and looked very nervous.  “Watch the body language,” my friend sitting next to me said.  “He’s about to violate his oath of office.”  My friend was spot-on.  The fix was in.  Judge Ohmer said that his ten-year-old could see that the new law was in contradiction to Missouri’s Constitution.  He granted the temporary injunction to stop the law from taking effect in St. Louis, and set a date for briefs and arguments two weeks hence to make the injunction permanent. 

    The relevant section of Missouri’s state Constitution reads: “that the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property…shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons.”  Every legal scholar I’ve talked to says that “shall not justify” means that the legislature has the right to regulate and restrict the carrying of concealed weapons–which it always has.  In Missouri, you cannot claim your “right to keep and bear arms” as an affirmative defense against the charge of carrying a concealed weapon in violation of state law.  What the lawsuit-bringers claim, however, and what Judge Ohmer and his ten-year-old agree with, is that “shall not justify” means “shall not allow under any circumstances.”  As a matter of interest, I have a ten-year-old daughter, and she disagrees with the interchangeability of ‘justify’ and ‘allow.’  Maybe Judge Ohmer’s child is smarter than mine.

    At issue here is whether the legislature has the right, under our Constitution, to enact any statute which allows even one person to legally carry a concealed weapon.  Keep in mind that there have always been statutes on the Missouri books which permit some people to legally carry concealed weapons in Missouri: Police, judges, corporate security advisors, certain government agents, process servers, and anyone “engaged in a peaceable journey throughout the state.”  Even the anti-rights St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page thinks this is a losing argument.

    A local shooting range (which had taken in $250,000 in training fees over the four-week period prior to Ohmer’s hearing the case) filed a Motion to Intervene (stop the injunction) which the judge dismissed.  However, their testimony was relevant in that it established that they (and countless others) would suffer financial harm from the injunction.  Peter VonGontard, counsel for the range (and a personal friend of mine) argued that bond should be set at several million dollars.  The Judge set the bond at $250,000, which disappointed me but apparently stunned the plaintiffs, who had been thinking they’d get off with a $5,000 bond.  According to the Post article, at least one of the plaintiffs, Lyda Krewson,* put up her house as collateral.  With several large training facilities and thousands of other people adversely affected financially by the injunction, it shouldn’t take much to use up all the bond and go through the rest of these folks’ assets when damages are awarded, if it comes to that.

    IF the eventual ruling (probably from Missouri’s Supreme Court) is that Missouri’s Constitution prohibits the legislature from passing any License-To-Carry law, then it will also mean that the legislature violated the Constitution when it enacted statutes to allow police officers, judges, corporate security advisors, etc. to carry concealed.  This seems ludicrous to me.  Don’t forget that in EVERY state that passes a shall-issue law, anti-freedom statists always file lawsuits to block the new laws, and these lawsuits have ALWAYS been defeated.  I have to believe that this will get sorted out and honest adults will soon be allowed to apply to become licensed to carry in Missouri.   

                                                                                                       John Ross  10/20/2003

*Ms. Krewson is an Alderwoman in the city of St. Louis.  She has been a constant advocate of victim disarmament laws, and was involved in the 25,000 Mom March in Washington.  She has had real tragedy in her life, as her husband was killed in a 1995 carjacking while she and her two young children watched.  Many people have asked why Ms. Krewson would want to perpetuate the legal condition that allowed her husband to be murdered.  There is no definitive answer.  Ms. Krewson has stated publicly that a gun in her husband’s glove box would not have saved him.  We can infer that because of Ms. Krewson’s beliefs, she and her husband would never have had a gun in their car in the first place, even if it had been legal to do so.  However, it is extremely unlikely that the carjacker’s first violent crime was the murder of Ms. Krewson’s husband.  Assuming that the carjacker had a number of other assaults under his belt, if Missouri had been a concealed carry (or car carry) state, it’s quite possible that one of the carjacker’s earlier intended victims would have used a gun to stop the assault.  Had that been the case, the carjacker would have gone to prison (or the morgue) before ever meeting up with Ms. Krewson and her husband, and Ms. Krewson’s children would still have a father.  A psychiatrist friend suggests that Ms. Krewson is in denial, for it would be too painful for her to admit that her own advocacy of victim disarmament was in part responsible for her husband’s death. 

2 thoughts on “Missive #17”

    1. I have not bought any but they could be added to my list (I didn’t know there was such a product).
      What I have done is started taking her outside more often now that she is not so hesitant to climb the stairs.

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