Mo. legislator introduces bills requiring adult residents to own guns
35 year-old Andrew McDaniel, a state representative from southeast Missouri, has received global attention for a bill he's introduced called the "McDaniel Militia Act" that would require every person in the state between the ages of 18 and 35 to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
He also has a second measure, the "McDaniel Second Amendment Act", that would require everyone over the age of 21 to own a handgun.
McDaniel did not return our phone and e-mail messages on Monday, but after the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand involving semi-automatic weapons that killed 50 people, the Washington Post quotes McDaniel as condemning the event as "horrible" and pointing out that he should have known that the media would shine a light on his legislation after the tragedy.
Even as New Zealand's government announced it would be enacting new gun laws restricting semiautomatic weapons within the next week, McDaniel clarified to the Post that he didn't technically support his own bills as they were written, but does support the tax credits for firearm purchases that is also included in the bills.
The former sheriff's deputy called the part about requiring everyone to own a gun just a tactic to bait the left, telling the Post "I wanted the media and the other side to jump on it, to show that our Second Amendment rights are under attack. I don't actually support mandates, hardly ever."
If that law were to pass, no one would benefit more than gun shop owners as everyone of a certain age would be required to purchase a weapon and then receive tax credits for being in compliance with the ordinances.
But even Nick Newman, the owner of Cherokee Firearms, a Springfield gun shop that makes its own AR-15's, doesn't think it's a good idea to require semi-automatic rifle ownership.
"First and foremost when we have customers come into the store we think of ourselves as educators," Newman explained. "We're here to help you make a good decision. Sometimes that's a handgun, sometimes it's a shotgun, sometimes it's nothing at all that's the best decision you can make."
Newman says that two of every three guns sold at his store are handguns, but certainly understands the appeal of the AR-15, which is named for the company that developed it, the Armalite rifle.
"Realistically it's not the right thing for some people. But there's a reason the military uses this style of small arms," Newman said of the AR-15. "They're fairly light, not terribly expensive, easy to use, easy to maintain, and there's not a lot of recoil."
Newman also said he's not surprised by this unusual gun legislation turning up this time of year as a political football.
"Generally early in the sessions people on both sides of not just this fence but every fence tend to introduce legislation that would seem very drastic and Draconian," he said. "I don't any of the legislators really intend those to go forward very far. It's more that they've introduced bills for their own reputation or so they have a better gage for the climate for their legislation."
But lest you think required gun ownership is non-existent, Newman pointed out that it does happen in places where military service is required.
"In some countries it has been mandated through military service," he explained. "When you leave the service you take your service weapon with you at home and everyone is expected to maintain it and be able to operate it in a time of emergency."
So far McDaniel's two bills have not been scheduled for a hearing.
But they've definitely brought more attention to an already controversial topic.
One reason the AR 15 continues to be in the national spotlight is because it's also been used in many of America's mass shootings including those in Newtown, Parkland, Florida and Las Vegas.