By Ryan S. Walters
In his latest power grab, President Obama recently issued executive orders to curtail the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, all in the name of preventing mass shootings perpetrated by criminals. His unlawful orders primarily concern background checks for private gun sales, even though such sales account for less than 1% of these types of instances.
Law-abiding citizens, and conservative states, are rightly concerned. Today Governor Phil Bryant announced that the state of Mississippi would move to protect gun rights from federal overreach, and he asked Representative Andy Gipson to introduce legislation in the House.
“From Day 1, the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to try to eliminate the constitutional rights granted by the Second Amendment,” Gov. Bryant said in his statement. “The President’s latest attempt to bypass Congress to further his anti-gun agenda is particularly outrageous. I will do everything in my power to safeguard law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, and I appreciate Rep. Gipson advancing legislation to do just that.”
However, just such a bill could have already been on the books, for the exact same legislation has been proposed during the last three legislative sessions from the pen of Senator Chris McDaniel.
Since his arrival in the State Senate in 2008, Senator McDaniel has fought hard to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens of Mississippi, particularly when threats came from Washington.
He sponsored the “Concealed Carry Protection Act” that strengthened and protected the rights of those who hold permits to carry concealed firearms. This became the law in Mississippi.
But many of his other bills have yet to become law because the Republican Establishment, namely Lt. Governor Reeves, blocked them in previous legislative sessions. One such bill that he has introduced multiple times was a proposal to prevent state officials from aiding in enforcement of federal gun bans or restrictions, not unlike the proposal made today by Governor Bryant.
In 2009, he sponsored a bill that outlined the constitutional principles that protected gun rights and demanded that the federal government “cease and desist” acting beyond the scope of its constitutional delegated authority.” If Washington did not, then “all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding [would] be prohibited or repealed.”
In 2013, he authored three bills: SB 2530, known as the “Firearm Protection Act,” would limit the ability of the government to seize a gun; SB 2761, which would, like Bryant’s proposal, prohibit state or local assistance in federal enforcement of gun restrictions; and SB 2797, known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which would prevent federal infringement on gun rights and nullify all federal acts that violate the Second Amendment.
Not only were each of those bills blocked by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, but neither did Governor Bryant lift a single finger to push those bills through the legislature to enactment. Only now is any proposal made, AFTER the President has moved against the Second Amendment.
And it came just days after Senator McDaniel announced on his Facebook page that he would be introducing his bill once again.
But this is a pattern we have seen in recent years. The GOP Establishment blocks conservative bills, particularly those introduced by Senator McDaniel, and then later adopts those same issues as their own and takes full credit. And the chief hatchet man against Senator McDaniel has been Lt. Gov. Reeves.
In 2015, Lt. Gov. Reeves unveiled his “Legislative Agenda,” a vast proposals of bills he “engineered” for the election campaign season. But for the most part those ideas were stolen from Senator McDaniel and other Senate conservatives, most notably a bill to repeal Common Core, in a massive case of legislative “flip flop.”
But as they say in politics, you have your show horses and you have your workhorses. Senator Chris McDaniel obviously had more insight, understanding, and regard for the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Mississippi than the politically expedient Lt. Governor, or the rest of the Establishment.
And these facts show, without question, who are the show horses and who is the workhorse in Mississippi politics.