This past Tuesday Fr. Keith Branson and I went to vote together at our local polling station in Liberty, Missouri. We both requested nonpartisan ballots as we focused on five statewide proposals to amend the Missouri state constitution. Amendment 5 was of special interest to me since it dealt with the right to bear arms. I believed that the amendment was needed as an attempt to restrict gun rights. Constitutional Amendment 5 establishes the unalienable right of citizens to keep and bear arms, ammunition and accessories associated with the normal functioning of arms for the purpose of defending themselves, family, home and property. It also removes the exception to the current constitutional right to bear arms that explicitly states it can’t be used to justify the wearing of concealed weapons. The amendment allows the state to limit the possession of arms by convicted felons and those adjudged as mentally ill. Unfortunately, the final vote on this amendment was 61% Yes and 39% No. A majority of Missouri voters want the option of carrying a concealed weapon. A majority of Missouri voters want the option to settle disputes through acts of violence. What a sad state of affairs! Fortunately, the state will limit guns getting into the hands of felons and the mentally ill.
The Kansas City Province Corporate Statement Against Gun Violence states, “Local, state and national legislators must pass reasonable laws which will curb the culture of violence tearing apart the fabric of our nation.” Let us continue to do our part to promote St. Gaspar’s message, “try to make every effort to bring everything to a peaceful solution.”
Once again this past week Missouri carried out an execution. In spite of people being outraged by the botched execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona, the execution of Michael Worthington took place in Bonne Terre last Wednesday. He was convicted of murder for the 1995 rape and strangling of a university student in the St. Louis area. As I attended a vigil for Michael and his victim’s family at Nichol’s Fountain on the Plaza, a passerby on a motorcycle yelled, “I think they should hang the bastard!” I stood with the others in quiet peaceful protest. Pray that our state not continue to resort to violence in our name.
According to the Chicago Tribune,the American Civil Liberties Union recently called for a national suspension of executions due to what it has called a string of “botched” executions, citing a need for states to provide more transparency and accountability.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.