Chris Koster backs August ‘right to bear arms’ amendment

JOPLIN, Mo. – Does Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster support a measure that aims to boost the constitution’s “right to bear arms” in Missouri?

“Yes,” Koster said plainly last Wednesday.

Koster, a Democrat who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association during his 2012 reelection campaign, said he did not have any objections to Amendment 5, one of five constitutional questions voters will consider when they head to the polls next Tuesday. The measure asks voters to declare “that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”

In addition to the traditional Second Amendment “right to bear arms” protections, the Missouri amendment specifically protects ammunition and “accessories typical to the normal function of such arms.” The amendment would carve out convicted felons and those deemed by a court to be of a danger to themselves from the “unalienable” protections.

Critics of the measure say the actual wording of the amendment, which requires courts to review gun laws with “strict scrutiny”, the most stringent form of judicial review, could harm local gun regulations and prevent safety measures from advancing statewide.

Koster, a Democrat eyeing the Governor’s Mansion in 2016, joins his only announced Republican rival Catherine Hanaway in supporting the measure. State Auditor Tom Schweich, another Republican mulling a bid, supports the measure, and has called for Koster to announce his position on the measure.

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