McKenna Under Fire Over Guns

7 Aug

Having completed only his first legislative session as a state representative, TJ McKenna (D-114th) has already drawn the attention of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board. While it is a badge of honor for a Republican to be called out by the MSNBC-wannabes that populate the board, that is not the case for a Democrat. The editorial board published a column yesterday that began with stark criticism:

T.J. McKenna should re-read his oath of office.

The board proceeded to call McKenna onto the carpet for his plan to vote to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 436, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which most notably “rejects all federal acts that infringe on a Missouri citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment.”

Now, his intention to vote this way does not mean McKenna is a true believer in the bill. Here was his comment in an AP article:

“We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it,” said Rep. T.J. McKenna, D-Festus. But, he added, “the bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out.”

Here’s what the P-D board thought of that:

But Mr. McKenna’s contempt for the Constitution might be even worse. He’s willing to trade his oath of office for a meaningless vote because he thinks it might inoculate him from an electoral challenge.

That’s just cowardice. It’s also a waste of time.

JeffCo Rep. Ben Harris, Democrat from the 118th, also received some harsh words in the editorial. This was his comment on the bill:

“Being a rural-area Democrat, if you don’t vote for any gun bill, it will kill you,” Harris said. “That’s what the Republicans want you to do is vote against it, because if you vote against it, they’ll send one mailer every week just blasting you about guns, and you’ll lose” re-election.

The board responded:

No, Mr. Harris. You will deserve to lose re-election if you don’t have the courage of your convictions. You will lose your election if you can’t speak the truth to your constituents. You will lose your election because you’re more concerned about mailers than the one document you swore to support.

Will this column have any effect? I doubt that a couple of rural legislators care what the big-city paper has to say (nor do their constituents). Other than maybe inspiring a few negative calls and tweets (see below), I don’t think it will. It may provide these representatives some cover with the voters: “Hey, I’m not liberal. I was attacked by the P-D!” Maybe the P-D had this in mind when they wrote the column?

It is interesting that the P-D board had nothing to say about Jeff Roorda (D – 113th), who is also likely, if not certain, to vote for the override. I’m sure that the P-D, always queasy about attacking a Democrat, couldn’t bear to go beyond shaming a couple of 1st/2nd-termers to criticize a more senior Dem who happens to be running for state senate next year.

As an aside, I’m not sold on this bill myself. It is sure to draw an expensive and probably successful legal challenge. Plus, unless the GOP can actually win a statewide race, Democrat Attorneys General will be in charge of defending and enforcing (or not) this bill.


4 Responses to “McKenna Under Fire Over Guns”

  1. Doris Borgelt August 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    I believe Mr. Koster was once a Republican, right?


  2. Anthony Whiskeyman August 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    The Post Dispatch is a joke. It is beneath my contempt and not worth reading.



  1. Today’s Happenings at the Veto Session | Jefferson County Penknife - September 11, 2013

    […] gun bill, was overridden by the House but failed in the Senate. TJ McKenna (114th, Dem), who was much maligned by the left for voting for this bill, even though he says he knew it was unconstitutional, […]


  2. JeffCo in Jeff City: Legislative Update | Jefferson County Penknife - April 22, 2014

    […] 3. All other JeffCo Dems voted for it. Last year, McKenna voted for a similar bill and received much criticism from the left. In the veto session, he switched to a no […]


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