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The practice at the Capitol of filing fake legislation — attention-getting bills that have no chance of passing — doesn’t serve Missourians.

Rep. Andrew McDaniel, of the rural Bootheel community of Deering, recently filed bills requiring adults to own handguns and young adults to own AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

In an Associated Press story, McDaniel, a Republican, acknowledged he forwarded the bills to make a point: Mandates are bad.

“The other side of the aisle loves mandates, so I’m trying to get them to make an argument against mandates,” he told the AP.

The bills fuel an already stoked firearms debate, which has been in the news due to unfortunate related events.

The AP reported a Missouri state senator was arrested after a loaded gun fell to the floor during a fight at a Jefferson City bar. Two state House members also were involved in an incident at another Jefferson City business that left one of them with a black eye. The incidents occurred after a House committee heard debate on legislation that would allow concealed weapons in public places that currently ban guns.

McDaniel’s legislation turned into a predictable partisan fight, as Democrats jumped on the opportunity to criticize him:

“From alcohol-fueled bar fights, to advancing legislation that would allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon anywhere from bars to daycares, to mandating gun ownership with a tax subsidy for gun manufacturers, the Missouri GOP rarely wastes an opportunity to embarrass themselves or our state,” the Missouri Democratic Party said in a written statement. “Republicans should regroup during the spring legislative break and come back ready to do real work that moves Missouri forward.”

But the practice isn’t new, and it’s not confined to either side of the political aisle.

Politicians of all parties have sometimes used absurd bills to make a point.

Sometimes, they have proposed yanking funding from an entire division or department, using the threat to coerce the department to change its stance on something, or change the way it operates.

But filing bills either to threaten or to make a point isn’t good governing, and it undermines the importance and credibility of the Legislature as a whole.

Central Missouri Newspapers

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