Mo. lawmakers debate militia bill

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 12:44 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KRCG/CBS) - During the American Revolutionary War, minutemen were armed civilian colonists. Now, nearly 250 years later, a Missouri state senator wants to bring back that tradition.

“The minuteman component provides the opportunity for Missouri residents to be able to volunteer in the time of extreme emergency to support the needs of the state...” said Sen. Bill White (R-Joplin).

He said if an Armageddon-type of event was to occur, Missouri could need the minutemen.

“We live in a very turbulent time, and the possibility, whether it be man-made or natural disaster, that we go to a civilization-threatening event, this does allow a pool of man power that is, by the way, not a military force,” Sen. White said.

The proposed qualifications are simple: Missouri residents who legally can own firearms would put their names and addresses on a list kept by the Department of Public Safety.

The list would not be shared with anyone, and it would outside the Sunshine Law.

“The anonymity issue of not knowing who or who is or is not a part of this, if anything, I think, makes this a nightmare for coordination,” said Peter Lucier, Veteran Advisory Board committee member.

Lucier is a Marine Corps veteran. He said he’s concerned this group could give a home to extremists.

“A bill like this really has the power to bolster and encourage growing, particularly right-wing, anti-government extremism,” he said.

He also didn’t think the armed defense group should be given power during a crisis.

“A bunch of kind of rag-tag forces coming together who are, who have been anonymous until being called up by the governor certainly doesn’t seem like an effective force to combat the civilization-threatening events,” Lucier continued.

In a civilization-threatening event, Senator White said the governor, with consent of three-fourths of the General Assembly, could call upon the armed group. However, Lucier said the creation of an armed group outside of law enforcement and public safety officials is concerning.

In addition to the creation of the Missouri Minutemen, Peter Lucier was also concerned the firearms belonging to the armed defense group technically would be owned by the state, which he said would mean they would be removed from what White called federal jurisdiction.

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