The "scorched earth" political shenanigans by certain right wing elements of the Missouri legislature are, in my opinion, a shameful, wasteful embarrassment.
What am I talking about?
Well, at the top of the list is the repeated promulgation of purported "gun rights" legislation by a group of Republican legislators, which would purport to nullify federal firearms laws with which they may disagree.
Several pieces of such legislation have been proposed by this group.
The latest effort was sponsored by Doug Funderburk, a Republican state representative out of St. Peters, Missouri.
Funderburk's proposal would, among other things, allow Missouri citizens to sue federal law enforcement agents for enforcing federal firearms laws.
Similar legislative efforts have been proposed by this same faction that would make it a state crime for federal law enforcement officers to enforce federal gun laws, leading to a scenario where state law enforcement officials would be arresting federal law enforcement officials for doing their jobs.
That this type of legislation is fundamentally unconstitutional and will most certainly be struck down by the courts.
Funderburk says: "This is how we push back on a federal government that is running out of control.”
I say: It is those within our legislature wasting time, effort and money on such patently unconstitutional and wrong-headed legislation that are the ones running out of control.
Now, I am about as much of a firearms enthusiast as you will likely find.
I believe that guns don't kill people, people do.
I greatly enjoy an afternoon at the range with my son, shooting lead through paper targets.
I am a firm believer in the right to keep and carry firearms for personal protection as a matter of fundamental Constitutional right.
I believe that restrictions on ammunition magazine capacity and gun free zones only benefit the criminals who ignore such laws, and that attempts to limit the gun rights of responsible citizens is not the answer to curbing wanton gun violence.
But still, despite these views, I believe that the taxpayer resources that have been wasted on proposed legislation like this, which purports to subject federal law enforcement officers to lawsuits and even arrest for doing their job of enforcing the laws of our nation, and which everyone agrees is unconstitutional, is shameful.
Don't our legislators have something more meaningful to do?
I would rather see the enormous amounts of money that have been wasted on this legislative effort, and will be wasted on the judicial action that will surely see it struck down if it passes, spent on something more worthwhile, like feeding the hungry, treating the sick and the mentally ill, and even building more prisons to incarcerate those who commit violent crime.
But more and more it seems, politics is not about helping make the world a better place. It's about grandstanding and fundraising.
It's about pandering to the wealthy, such as the enormously wealthy gun lobby.
It's about trying to pass an unconstitutional and ill-conceived piece of legislation as a political statement, so when the governor vetoes it or the courts strike it down, you can scream: "ANTI-GUN!"
And, it's about trying to feather one's own political nest with shenanigans like this.
Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org