JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing a gun safety course sponsored by the National Rifle Association to be taught to first-graders.
The bill signed Friday allows schools to teach the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program and to seek financial grants to do so. But it stops short of mandating the course.
The NRA says its course has been taught to more than 26 million children nationwide since it began in 1988. Virginia enacted a law in 2010 allowing gun-safety courses based on the NRA program.
The Missouri legislation requires schools to conduct an active-shooter drill led by law enforcement officers.
It also assigns the duty of issuing identification cards for concealed gun permits to sheriffs, instead of driver's license clerks.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A gun owner whose lawsuit spurred the Illinois concealed carry law that took effect this week is asking a federal court to allow the public possession of firearms immediately.
Mary Shepard and the National Rifle Association filed a motion for an injunction Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for southern Illinois. Shepard's motion says gun owners should not have to wait to carry because of Illinois lawmakers' "procrastination."
A federal appeals court ruled in December that it's unconstitutional for Illinois to continue prohibiting concealed carry. But lawmakers finally adopted a plan Tuesday - the court's deadline. Now the Illinois State Police have six months to set up a system and three months to approve or deny applications after that.
The motion notes the ban remains in effect until then.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The National Rifle Association's Illinois lobbyist is predicting an easy legislative override of Gov. Pat Quinn's gun-carry veto.
Todd Vandermyde says the Democratic governor's suggested changes to concealed carry legislation are too late. He says lawmakers settled the issues Quinn raised and adopted the plan with overwhelming majorities.
A federal appeals court ruling requires a law by July 9 allowing Illinois residents to publicly possess concealed guns. The Legislature sent Quinn a plan last month.
Quinn used amendatory veto authority Tuesday to ban guns from any establishment serving alcohol and to limit gun owners to carrying one weapon at a time.
But Vandermyde says negotiators on all sides in the General Assembly discussed the changes and "the governor's people were never really part of it."
A prominent, long-time St. Louis area gun rights advocate is giving up his lifetime membership in the NRA.
Adolphus Busch IV sent a letter to the National Rifle Association Thursday, asking them to immediately take his name off their roles.
In the letter, Busch wrote that he was resigning his membership because of the NRA’s stand on background checks, which he says is supported by a majority of NRA members. Busch cites NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre's support of background checks as "reasonable" in 1999 and questions the shift in position.
Busch also questions the organization's position on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Busch charges that the NRA has become a lobby organization for gun and ammo manufactures instead of gun owners.
Here is the content of Busch's letter to the NRA:
Adolphus A. Busch, IV
1600 Highway 79
O’Fallon, MO 63366
Delivered by UPS
April 18, 2013
Mr. David A. Keene
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
This letter shall serve as formal resignation of my life membership in the NRA. I ask that you immediately remove my name from your membership roles and provide me an acknowledgement of this action.
As most in your organization would admit, I have historically been a staunch defender of the NRA purpose and tradition in representing the interests of gun owners. I have personally devoted countless financial resources and time to nurture an intelligent environmental policy that provided for the proud tradition of personal hunting for generations to come.
It disturbs me greatly to see this rigid new direction of the NRA. As a starting point, one only has to ask why the NRA reversed its original position on background checks. Was it not the NRA position to support background checks when Mr. LaPierre himself stated in 1999 that NRA saw checks as “reasonable”? Furthermore, I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable. In fact, according to a Johns Hopkins University study, 74% say they support background checks.
I am simply unable to comprehend how assault weapons and large capacity magazines have a role in your vision. The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established. Your current strategic focus places a priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.
One only has to look at the makeup of the 75-member board of directors, dominated by manufacturing interests, to confirm my point. The NRA appears to have evolved into the lobby for gun and ammunition manufacturers rather than gun owners.
In closing I find it important to extend my personal thanks to Chris Cox and David Lehman for their support of so many important environmental issues. I will miss that level of friendship and support, but must take this action based upon my personal feelings toward the distorted values I see emerging within the NRA.
Adolphus A. Busch, IV
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says she's "furious" after senators on Wednesday blocked legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers.
Giffords is accusing senators who opposed new gun regulations of "cowardice," saying their decisions are "based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association."
The former Arizona congresswoman's remarks were published on The New York Times' op-ed page Wednesday. She has become a vocal gun control supporter since she was shot in the head at a rally near Tucson two years ago.
The proposal to expand background checks fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. An attempt to ban assault-style rifles failed as well, along with a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The measure endorsed Tuesday would give school districts the option to teach a National Rifle Association-sponsored gun safety program to students in first grade. SB75 would also allow schools to implement a training program for teachers and other personnel on responding to intruders.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Dan Brown, of Rolla, originally would have required schools to adopt both programs. But opposition from Democratic senators caused Brown to make the training and gun safety course optional.
The measure needs one more affirmative vote before moving to the House.
The private talks involve liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a National Rifle Association member and one of the Senate's more moderate Democrats.
On the Republican side, participants are Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, another NRA member and one of the more conservative lawmakers in Congress, and moderate Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The NRA says expanding background checks would do little good because criminals largely get their guns illegally.