Republican Missouri State Sen. Bill White has introduced a bill that would form an armed Missouri Minutemen volunteer force that could be called up by the governor if he needs them in an emergency.
If signed into law, S.B. 258, which was introduced on Tuesday for discussion in the state senate, would establish “that there shall be the Minutemen of the state which shall be called into service by the governor for use in defense during a state of emergency with consent of two-thirds of the General Assembly.” The move is allegedly meant to curb gun control efforts in Missouri and/or to prepare for an apocalyptic event.
“This is not designed as a military combat-type force. This is something to be called up in the example of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), a burst solar flare, a complete loss of power grid in the state,” White explained.
Any legal Missouri resident who is legally armed would qualify to serve in the volunteer group and would be able to join via the Department of Public Safety.
(Video Credit: KSDK News)
White was adamant that the Minutemen are not a militia. They would reportedly only be utilized in a “Civilization Threatening Event” to back up and assist law enforcement and other government agencies.
Anyone volunteering for the group would be required to “secure themselves with firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, uniforms, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform any duties as assigned by the governor.”
All of the aforementioned paraphernalia and gear would be deemed state property: “While you are minuteman, your firearms will, for sovereignty and jurisdiction purposes, be considered to be state property,” White stated. “Why would we want to do that? This goes back to the foundation of the federal government. The only entity the federal government cannot seize property from, cannot tax property, is the state.”
Gun rights groups had a number of concerns over the proposed bill. They ranged from the fear that the Department of Homeland Security could possibly confiscate a list of Minutemen and then use that list to confiscate weapons, to what would happen if a liberal governor was elected and then abused power concerning the state-owned weapons.
Sen. Bill White, the bill sponsor, said the creation of this group would provide a pool of man power for a civilization threatening event that is available for the government to be able to utilize that is not a military force. @KRCG13
— Jessica Hart KRCG (@JessicaHartTV) March 30, 2021
The bill goes even further and makes firearms and equipment exempt from taxes or registration requirements. Names and addresses of the volunteers would be the only information on record for members and disclosure of those details would be prohibited. “The list of enrolled minutemen with the Department is not subject to disclosure under law and shall not be shared or disseminated,” the bill states.
“Any person responsible for any unauthorized disclosure of this list, in part or in whole, shall be subject to a $1,000 fine per each name that is disclosed and a Class E felony,” the bill declares.
The governor would serve as the acting commander in chief of the Minutemen. To ensure transparency, the governor would also be tasked with publishing training, disciplinary, and organizational regulations.
“We all have seen the writing on the wall with the federal government that we have right now,” declared lobbyist and gun advocate Tony Shepherd in reference to gun control measures.
Gun control advocates were quick to speak out against the legislation. Everytown for Gun Safety’s advocate Peter Lucier strongly criticized the bill.
“The problem isn’t this bill which is going nowhere, the problem is rising extremism in this country,” he claimed. “Not only is it a distraction from those common-sense solutions, but it’s a nod towards extremists in our community and I don’t think the government should be in the business of that.”
“This isn’t a bill that protects civil liberties, this isn’t a bill that helps gun owners,” Lucier posited. “I think we have strong 2nd Amendment protections in Missouri, I don’t think they need to be bolstered. This is a fear-based reaction.”
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