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"(T)he right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

In 1791, our Founding Fathers saw it necessary to amend the United States Constitution with the Second Amendment to give the citizens of this country the right to bear arms and defend themselves. American families have the right to feel safe and secure in their own homes, and exercising Second Amendment rights is a way to help do just that. As your Representative in Congress, I take my role as a defender of the Constitution very seriously, especially when it comes to protecting Missourians' right to possess firearms.

Missouri has recently been in the national spotlight with the McCloskey family's situation in St. Louis. Earlier this month, Mark and Patricia McCloskey were photographed holding firearms after being confronted and harassed by an angry mob of rioters outside of their St. Louis home. Feeling extremely threatened and unsafe on their own private property, the McCloskeys were well within their rights to bear arms to protect themselves. Our state's Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Law both explicitly give Missourians the right to defend themselves and their property. Unfortunately, Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner has been using the McCloskey's case for political gain and fundraising efforts even before any charges were filed. Thankfully, Attorney General Schmitt and Gov. Parson have both recognized this gross injustice and infringement on the McCloskeys' freedom and are working to have their names cleared.

While Missouri is home to the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Law, nothing of the sort exists on the federal level. In order to protect Second Amendment rights of Americans across the country, I am a proud cosponsor of fellow Missourian Congressman Jason Smith's bill, the American Family and Private Property Defense Act. This legislation would prevent an American citizen from being prosecuted for the use of force against an intruder as long as that force was used to protect themselves, another individual or private property. I am hopeful we will be able to get this bill passed to ensure Second Amendment rights nationwide are safeguarded.

With repeated calls from Democrats to "defund the police" and the violent rioting taking place across America, our Second Amendment rights are more meaningful than ever. Having the ability to protect your property, your family and yourself is a fundamentally American right I firmly believe in, and I will continue to be a strong defender of the Second Amendment in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.

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