Democrat — MO 2nd District

Gun Rights and Gun Control


  • We need to level the playing field in Congress if we ever want sane common-sense gun regulations. And right now the NRA makes this impossible with their inflated power over significant numbers of our elected officials.
  • We need a recommitment to common sense gun laws. And common sense demands that we be more vigilant of violent and irresponsible people wanting to own guns. It also demands that gun owners be required to take competence and safety training.
  • Military style weapons should only be allowed in the military. You don’t need an AK-47 to kill a deer or to protect your family. Too many Americans have shown that they are too irresponsible – or mentally unfit – to be trusted with this firepower. Removing such lethal weaponry from their access is common sense.

The National Rifle Association owns a significant number of members of Congress. This sound grandiose and exaggerated. But the power of the NRA can’t be exaggerated nor should it be ignored.

By “own”, I mean that they have power over the careers of many representatives; they determine who wins and who loses in Congress. They use their vast amounts of money and their legions of lobbyists to pressure legislators to do their bidding. Their power is so vast they often just need to THREATEN to use their campaign finance power in primaries to get members of Congress to toe their fanatical line.

But of all the NRA’s lasting actions, the one that should give us most pause is their success at changing the language. Over the years, they’ve somehow figured out a way to redefine what is meant by “common sense” gun laws.

The vast majority of Americans – even gun owners – support common sense gun laws. But the NRA has somehow managed to even subvert what is meant by “common sense.” On a typical day in America, 93 people die because of guns. Gun violence is clearly an epidemic in America. And no viable plan in dealing with an epidemic should tolerate an assault on common sense.

Here’s what I mean by common sense gun laws:

  • People who have shown ANY violent behavior or behavior that demonstrates disregard for human life and safety, should be prevented from owning a firearm. Guilty of domestic abuse? Child abuse? Assault and battery? No gun.
  • Required background checks for ALL firearm purchases. It’s absurd to require background checks at sales by licensed dealers but not sales at gun shows or on Craig’s List!
  • Required competence and safety training for ALL firearm purchases. These are dangerous devices. We cannot just assume that everyone knows how to use them safely. If we demand competency with cars we should demand it with weapons.

And the most “common sense” of my common sense positions regarding guns…..

  • Military style weapons should only be allowed in the military. You’re a competent, law-abiding citizen with no mental issues who just wants a gun to hunt or for protection? Great. You don’t need a firearm used in the military to kill a deer, nor do you need an assault weapon that’s designed to kill massive numbers of people to protect yourself or your family.

We call upon the military to protect our nation and we need them to have the most lethal means necessary to do it. Individuals outside of the military don’t need that firepower. Moreover, allowing such firepower in the hands of civilians means it’s more likely they’ll end up in the hands of inherently violent and unstable people.

We need to reclaim common sense in this debate and prohibit future sales of military weaponry to the public.

End Corruption. Demand reform.
Paid for by John Messmer for Congress.