Amendment Five, a proposed Missouri Constitutional Amendment on the August Primary Election Ballot, seeks to further protect the 'Right to Bear Arms.'
If passed, this measure could make Missouri's gun rights protections one of the strictest in the country. Supporters of the Amendment say that the measure would just add to Missourians' gun rights. Amendment 5 would establish the unalienable right of citizens to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories.
"The changes that this ballot measure would make to the Missouri Constitution is that it would go beyond talking about individual protections to bear arms to also include families," said Dr. Randy Hagerty, Department Chair of Political Sciences at Truman State University.
Family would now be added to the list of things gun owners have a right to defend, which also includes one's person, home and property. Restrictions on those rights would now be under 'strict scrutiny' and the state would be obligated to uphold those rights. Strict scrutiny is the most stringent standard of judicial review used by the United States Court System.
"This would make the right to bear arms in Missouri at the very highest level of protection, gun owners say, and that our right to own these guns is under attack by a number of groups," added Hagerty.
However those in opposition of Amendment 5 warn that this measure could put more guns in the hands of criminals, and make the guns harder to regulate.
"They say look, if you raise the level of gun scrutiny to the very highest level, if you make it a strict scrutiny, that's going to make it more difficult to take guns out of the hands of felons, it's going to make it more difficult to take guns out of the hands of criminals," said Hagerty.
Many organizations that oppose the Amendment say that the Federal Background Check System needs to be expanded, which would help reduce guns ending up in the wrong hands. They are also asking for increased penalties for lawful gun owners if their guns are used in the commission of a crime.