Rep. Keith Frederick
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan. 25, 2013) — This week we third-read and passed HB 110 relating to filling vacancies that occur in statewide offices such as would occur if Lt. Gov. Kinder were to be selected as the nominee for the Eighth Congressional district which is being vacated by Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson. This legislation provides for the governor to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy in such a statewide office temporarily while an election is arranged. HB 110 saves taxpayer dollars since the election would be held during the next general election, and it allows the people to decide on the final individual to serve, while providing some representation relatively quickly through the appointment process. It also provides that the person appointed by the governor would not be eligible to run as a candidate while fulfilling the temporary service as appointed by the governor. This serves two good purposes in my mind. First it makes it possible to avoid having the newly appointed person spend most of his or her time campaigning instead of serving in the office. Second, it avoids the governor giving the power of incumbency to an appointee who has never been elected by a vote of the people. This bill has been introduced the last five years and has been passed out of the House multiple times, and on at least one occasion was vetoed by the Governor. We shall see what happens this year.
Israel Doba of Dixon stopped by the office Tuesday in his role to advocate for healthy lungs and clean air. He is advocating for the local people, through their local governments, to assure that the citizens can breathe clean air. Doba is working through a recently obtained grant that enables him to provide educational materials and information to residents of Pulaski County on the benefits of smoke free environments. His efforts are directed at empowering the local people to control their own policies regarding smoking. I visited with him and we discussed issues related not only to the harmful effects on children from second hand smoke, but our philosophies on local control. I told him I believe that the United Nations should not be making decisions for our federal government and that the federal government should not make decisions that are better made at the state level and that the states should not be making decisions that are more properly made at the local level. I told him that as a physician, I understood the harmful effects from smoking and that it is of particular concern to me that children’s health can be adversely affected (asthma for instance) by second hand smoke. We both agreed however, that decisions about whether to ban smoking at the local pub or restaurant are best made at the local level and not by the federal or state government.
Israel is a lifelong resident of Pulaski County and obtained a degree in biology from Drury College at the extension in St. Robert. He is very involved in his community and in coaching. He is the director of the soccer league in Dixon. We wish him well with the new effort, which he tells me he just began three weeks ago.
Second Amendment Rights (sorry this is a long section this week)
As I sit here and write this report today, I have before me a Senate Bill that was introduced by State Sen. Chappelle-Nadal, SB 124. This bill, if enacted, would require a parent to notify a school district or a private or charter school that he or she owns a firearm within 30 days of enrolling the child in school or becoming the owner of a firearm. Look this one up on the House website at this link. You will see that it creates the crime of failing to stop illegal firearm possession if a parent allows a child under the age of 18 to possess a gun. It also would create the crime of negligent storage of a firearm. This new bill would carry a fine of up to $1,000 dollars. My opinion is that this bill does not have a chance of passing the House, but I have been wrong before, and I will be watching the bill closely. This is a knee jerk response to the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut and does not represent well thought out legislation. I will strongly oppose it.
I am a cosponsor of HB 170 which was introduced by State Rep. Casey Guernsey. This is a bill that has been introduced in a number of state legislatures to protect their citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms. I have gotten a number of emails from constituents urging me to support this bill and I have written back to let them know I was a cosponsor when the bill was filed. There is some concern on the left that this bill may have some unconstitutional components to it. It has even been suggested to me by a liberal Democrat Representative that this bill amounts to treason! My response is that treason means betraying your country, and I believe that a great many citizens of our country and of Missouri feel betrayed by the elite in government who are trying to infringe on their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. This bill protects the rights of the Missourians who purchase guns made in Missouri, and owned in Missouri, among other provisions. It also asserts the right of the state of Missouri to be free of intervention from federal officials over the Constitutional activities of Missourians acting in compliance with state law and the Constitution. Here is a summary of the bill:
HB 170 — Firearms
Sponsor: Guernsey, Co-Sponsor Frederick et al
This bill specifies that it is unlawful for any officer or employee of the state, any political subdivision, or any licensed federal firearms dealer to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal act, law, statute, rule, or regulation relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state and that remains exclusively within the boundaries of the state. Any federal official, agent, or employee who enforces or attempts to enforce any federal act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation pertaining to these types of firearms, accessories, or ammunition will be guilty of a class D felony. Any person in violation of any federal law relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured and retained exclusively within the boundaries of the state may request the Attorney General to defend him or her for the violation. The bill specifies that any federal law, rule, regulation, or order created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, is unenforceable in the state if it attempts to ban or restrict ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm or requires any firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner. The bill contains an emergency clause
If by executive order our President intends to negate the second amendment in any way, then it is the duty of the people and my duty as your representative to resist that effort.
Recently I was dismayed and quite surprised with what happened in New York, when a local newspaper decided it would be a good idea to publish the names of people who were lawfully in possession of a firearm. This was not in the best interest of the general public and served no good public policy. It did however, expose those individuals who did not own a firearm, and essentially publicly declared that these households are relatively defenseless to any of a number of crimes, including burglary, robbery and assault. Those who were identified as owning a firearm had their names and addresses published and this did not enhance their security, but rather put them in danger. Imagine that you were a former prosecuting attorney or a law enforcement officer who was personally responsible for arresting or prosecuting a large number of criminals who ended up being sent to prison. Let’s say that once released from prison, an individual wanted to pay a little visit to the person who in his or her mind was responsible for the imprisonment. The list of firearm owners was a good place to start to track that person down. To try to keep that from happening in Missouri, I had a bill drafted that would address this in Missouri, and quite a number of other state representatives were quick to sign on as cosponsors. As I discussed it more and thought about it more, I decided that the scope of this concept could be expanded. President Obama recently issued a number of executive orders and declared that more laws need to be passed to regulate guns. He mentioned using additional data for background checks. I have become aware that many electronic medical records these days have a section relating to gun ownership by patients. It is listed under “Home Safety.” Some in the health care field will be using this section to store data about the gun ownership of their patients. For those of you who attended the Tea Party rally last fall, I made people aware that this was a potential issue and also told them that in my opinion, they did not have an obligation to answer those sorts of questions. I told the gathering at that time that if they were asked such a question and refused to answer, and suffered any negative consequences from that, I wanted to know about it. I reiterate that here for readers of this weekly Capitol Report. I will be introducing a bill that not only prevents publication of a list of gun owners, but it prevents physicians and other health care workers from being required to ask about, document or report to any government agency, the firearms ownership status of any patient. It does not prevent a physician or other health care provider from asking about or talking about firearms if he or she believes it is relevant to the individual’s or the family’s situation. For instance, in my opinion, if a doctor is caring for a teenager that is troubled, perhaps depressed, the physician could take advantage of that opportunity to tell the parents that if you have a gun at home, now would be a good time to see that it is locked away. This does not require any questioning or response from the patient but accomplishes the goal of diminishing the chances of a tragedy such as happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, or a lone suicide without the mass murder.
The following is perhaps a section that many of you will want to skip over, since it is more about the gun issue, but moreover it consists of excerpts from a letter I sent my brother who had corresponded with me about gun violence. He and I see things differently regarding what measures are appropriate for government to take and what represents an infringement of the right to keep and bear arms. My big brother is a great guy, but we see this issue differently, and I described my thoughts and opinions to him in part through these excerpts from that letter I recently wrote him.
Excerpts from a letter to my brother
Basically, I see this issue as a matter of the 10th Amendment, and the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. When our country was founded, the states gave some powers to the federal government, but retained all other powers that were not specifically given to the federal government. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” so states the second amendment to the Constitution.
I do not trust the federal government to respect this constitutional reality, and I expect that it will attempt to infringe the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, even though it was specifically prohibited by the states when they authorized the creation of a federal government.
For the practical side of the debate, specifically about how to prevent mass killings in our schools, I have the following thoughts and observations. First, no amount of legislation is going to prevent those with evil intentions from obtaining a gun or explosive device. Heroin and other narcotics are illegal, but that does not prevent their use on a broad scale throughout the U.S. During prohibition, alcohol was illegal, but its consumption was widespread. There are millions of guns in our country and in our lifetimes we will not be able to get rid of any significant percentage of them. What makes the most sense in my opinion is to take a lesson from the air marshal program that we use to protect air travelers. No one knows who the air marshal on the flight is but on most flights there is one, and he or she is armed and prepared to respond. We should allow (not require) janitors, principals, and teachers who want to carry a concealed weapon to do so in our schools. Our current Missouri conceal carry law allows that, and more school districts should avail themselves of this opportunity. If you have an armed guard in uniform, in my opinion, he or she will be the shooter’s first target and then the rest of the school would be defenseless if it is still decreed a gun free zone. If the shooter did not know who was carrying a weapon, it would be much more difficult to carry out the killing spree and the shooter could be stopped by anyone in the area with a weapon. Perhaps more training than a CCW class would be needed to function in this environment, but that could be accomplished.
The idea of gun free zones is a bad idea. All this does is assure a shooter that the people he wants to murder will in fact be weaponless. A gun free zone designation will not cause a shooter to decide once he sees the signs that this is a gun free zone to simply go home and ditch his plans because he is reminded that he is going to be breaking the law if he brings his gun. If theatres and shopping centers were no longer gun free zones the people there would have a better chance of surviving and limiting an attack.
Many people in my district have guns and they use them for hunting but also for security. Many folks live in a very rural setting where law enforcement is not able to get to the location of the crime for anything except taking down the information about the crime and the criminal is long gone. This topic is the most common topic about which I have received email so far this session and overwhelmingly the constituents I have heard from are urging me to protect their second amendment rights. I was recently at a forum for the candidates for the Republican nomination for the eighth congressional district that will soon be vacated by Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson. The issue of the right to keep and bear arms was one question asked of each candidate who made a presentation that night. Every candidate out of some 7 or 8 that responded indicated that protection of those rights was a high priority. In my House district and in my U S Congressional district there is enormous support for preservation of the second amendment and I feel that way too.
If we limit the capacity of a magazine, criminals will ignore that law. It will be the citizen defending her home from invasion that will be limited to 7 shots or 5 shots or one shot, depending on the strictness of the law imposed. The intruder will have a much higher capacity magazine illegally obtained.”
Joint Committee on Life Sciences
I was notified Wednesday by the Speaker’s office that I had been selected to serve on a joint committee of the House and Senate named the Joint Committee on Life Sciences. I will know more about the function of this committee in future weeks.
Joint Committee on Education
I attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Higher Education today where a presentation was made by Complete College America, regarding a new method of funding for our universities. Much work has already been done on this project and much input has been received from stakeholders across Missouri, including of course our universities and colleges. Basically a portion of the funds provided to our colleges and universities would be based on meeting of various performance standards regarding such things as course completion, graduation, progress toward goals, etc. The institutions of higher education have had much input regarding the performance standards to be used in their particular situation. More to come on this topic, and I await the governor’s point of view next week during the State of the State address. I will be talking with MS&T Chancellor Schrader and her leadership team regarding these measures, to assure that Missouri University of Science and Technology has had ample opportunity to shape these decisions so better serve our students and citizens.
Visiting the Capitol
I always enjoy it when constituents visit the Capitol. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit us.
Elected in November 2010 to serve a district centered on Rolla and Phelps County, the borders of Rep. Frederick’s district were reapportioned following the 2010 census. Beginning with the 2012 election, Frederick’s district runs east of Rolla to take in most of northern Pulaski County including Richland, Swedeborg, Crocker and Dixon.