Democratic State Senator Jamilah Nasheed and Republican State Senator Brian Nieves do not agree on gun regulation. Nieves is behind the latest attempt to nullify federal gun laws in the state, and Nasheed is an unwavering gun-control advocate serving St. Louis.
So what could possibly bring the two together to defend an amendment in Nieves' hardcore gun bill?
The National Rifle Association, of course.
The NRA denounced Nieves' Second Amendment Preservation Act on Tuesday -- the very same day the bill was endorsed by the state Senate. Nieves says the organization wrongly interpreted one of the bill's amendments, offered by Nasheed, that gives Missourians 72-hours to report a stolen gun to authorities.
"I believe this is accidental, kind of like a misfire on the part of the NRA," Nieves said yesterday during a joint press conference with Nasheed. "I think they were confused between what the amendment says and what a separate bills says."
An NRA press release on Wednesday condemned Nasheed's amendment and the larger gun bill, Senate Bill 613, claiming the legislation would levy a $1,000 fine and a Class A misdemeanor on those who failed to report gun thefts within the 72-hour time frame.
Here's an excerpt from the NRA release:
Those who are unable to report a lost or stolen firearm within this arbitrary amount of time, would be subject to penalties including: a $1,000 fine, Class A misdemeanor and the loss of their Right to Carry Permit. Victims of gun theft should not be punished further by being prosecuted for such a "crime."
Your NRA-ILA has opposed this anti-gun legislation nationally for years. It seeks to create a de-facto gun owner registry as well as place unknown civil liabilities on the gun owner. Law-abiding gun owners should not be made a victim twice
However, as it's currently written in the bill, Nasheed's amendment carries no provisions to actually enforce that time limit. Such enforcement can only be found in a separate bill, also offered by Nasheed, that sought to create a pilot gun buyback program as well as reporting requirements for lost or stolen firearms.
"We have murders every day due to guns in the city of St. Louis, and many guns are stolen. And guess what? There's no reporting of stolen guns," said Nasheed during the same press conference yesterday. "I just am appalled that the NRA, individuals that say they support gun safety and gun security, would come out against this bill."
Here's a video of the press conference that was initially posted to Nasheed's official Senate web page Wednesday.
This situation is among the most bizarre we've seen in the Missouri legislature. It's unclear to us how (and why) two political arch rivals came together for a press conference to defend an amendment neither really wants.
Nasheed actually slammed Nieves' bill to the Associated Press on Tuesday, saying, "I cannot support this legislation in good conscience."
As for Nieves, he openly dislikes the Nasheed's amendment and makes no mystery of his desire to slash it from his bill. He simply wants the NRA to correct its mistake and withdraw its opposition.
"Make no mistake, I am not crazy about the amendment and am confident it will not be in the final version of the bill," Nieves wrote in an official press release yesterday.
In a comment on his Facebook page, Nieives acknowledges that Missouri gun owners could basically ignore the provisions of Nasheed's amendment even it were passed, since the 72-hour time frame only begins when you "become aware" of the theft.
"Nobody will ever know when you become aware," Nieves wrote, responding to a commenter.
We've reached out to the offices of Nasheed and Nieves and we'll update the story if we hear back.
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