As you know, the recently adjourned 2007 Missouri General Assembly session was one of the most successful sessions for law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in recent memory. Among the many achievements made in Jefferson City was the passage of Senate Bill 225, the “Hunting Heritage Protection Areas Act,” sponsored by Senator Bill Stouffer (R-21). This precedent-setting bill passed the Missouri Senate 32-0 and was passed by the House of Representatives 158-0. With Governor Matt Blunt’s pending signature, provisions within SB225 are set to be enacted on August 28, 2007.
Primarily, SB225 protects Missouri’s critical wildlife habitat and sport shooting areas within the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers 100-year flood plain by prohibiting both TIF development projects and the ability of localities to enact any ordinance that restricts hunting and lawful discharge within the protected areas. In doing so, this important legislation will protect irreplaceable wildlife habitat for current and future generations of sportsmen.
However, it hasn’t taken long for opponents of SB225 to begin their efforts to undermine important provisions within the bill. In a blatant attack on Missouri’s law-abiding hunters and sport shooters, in its June 2007 monthly newsletter the Missouri Municipal League (MML) urged all cities that do not currently have restrictions on hunting and the discharge of firearms to enact such an ordinance prior to the August 28 effective date of SB225. The MML has even gone so far as to offer “sample language” that can be used in crafting a one-size-fits-all regulation with the intent of severely limiting the areas in which lawful hunting and sport shooting can occur.
Apparently the MML has no regard for hunting opportunities and proper wildlife management, nor the future of sport shooting in the Show Me State. Is the MML suggesting that regardless of the circumstances (population, physical geography, established shooting ranges, etc.) EVERY Missouri city should blindly go forward and enact these draconian measures?
You can see for yourself by reading the June 2007 MML newsletter at www.mocities.com/default.asp?SectionID=54.
In the meantime, please be sure to monitor your city government’s meeting and agenda announcements and alert NRA-ILA of any proposal that seeks to restrict hunting and recreational shooting. Please forward any information to Kris Koenen at [email protected]; or (703) 267-1209.