Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would make it legal to create a Missouri Minutemen, a group of legal gun owners who could be called to action by the governor.
On Tuesday, state senators discussed S.B. 258, which would establish “that there shall be the minutemen of the state which shall be called into service by the governor for use in defense during a state of emergency with consent of two-thirds of the General Assembly.”
According to the legislation, any legal Missouri resident who is legally able to own a firearm will be allowed to voluntarily join the minutemen through the Department of Public Safety.
State Senator Bill White, author of the bill, said the minutemen are not a militia. They would be used in a “Civilization Threatening Event” as additional support for law enforcement and other government entities.
Volunteers would be required to “secure themselves with firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, uniforms, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform any duties as assigned by the governor.”
Additionally, volunteers’ firearms, accessories, ammunition, uniforms, equipment and supplies would be considered state property “for purposes of sovereignty and jurisdiction in matters of judicial, taxation, and police powers exercised by the state when a member is called into service,” protecting them from attempted federal seizures.
The bill states that firearms and equipment will also not be subjected to taxes or registration requirements.
Only volunteer’s name and address will be recorded by the department, and the law would also prohibit the disclosure of volunteers’ information.
“Any person responsible for any unauthorized disclosure of this list, in part or in whole, shall be subject to a $1,000 fine per each name that is disclosed and a Class E felony,” the legislation states.
Under the legislation, the governor – who would act as commander in chief of the minutemen – would also be required to publish organization, discipline and training regulations.
Peter Lucier, an advocate for gun control with Everytown for Gun Safety, criticized the legislation.
“The problem isn’t this bill which is going nowhere, the problem is rising extremism in this country,” he said. “Not only is it a distraction from those common-sense solutions, but it’s a nod towards extremists in our community and I don’t think the government should be in the business of that.”
“This isn’t a bill that protects civil liberties, this isn’t a bill that helps gun owners,” Lucier continued. “I think we have strong 2nd Amendment protections in Missouri, I don’t think they need to be bolstered. This is a fear-based reaction.”