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A Felony to File Gun Laws? Is Missouri a Laughingstock?

Countless publications have pointed at legislation filed by pro-gun-ownership state Rep. Mike Leara as an example of how polarized the debate is.

A Felony to File Gun Laws? Is Missouri a Laughingstock?

Republican Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara of Sunset Hills launched a wave of blog posts and news articles this week (including an earlier article on Patch) when he introduced legislation that, if passed, would criminalize the act of introducing anti-gun legislation.

That's right: Proposing a law could get a member of the General Assembly thrown in the slammer.

Of course, it won't pass. Even he says so, in a statement widely repeated around the Internet in which he calls the proposed law a "statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians."

His proposal would make it a class D felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, to introduce legislation that restricts gun ownership.

That has made a list by Politico of some of the "bizarre" bills that have been introduced in state legislatures around the country — proposals that include allowing Montana state police to license residents to salvage roadkill meat; and allowing miniature horses to serve as service animals in Arizona.

Reaction from articles on the web seems to run from Politico's "bizarre" to incredulous from The Atlantic to fairly down-the-middle from Fox News, which also notes that any gun-control legislation is likely DOA in Missouri's heavily Republican General Assembly.

Now, we wouldn't dare suggest that the floor of the state legislature should restrict open debate and dialogue on issues mundane or extraordinary.

But is there a line? Is this an example of a "waste of time" as someone suggested in the Politico article? Does it make Missouri look like a backwater hick state? Or is it a worthwhile stand on an issue that's very important to millions of gun owners?

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