First, I want to say I like our state Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, and I have voted for him each time he has run for office. But I cannot support his minutemen bill. There are no provisions for training — even gun safety training. Although chances of being called up are, as I was told by his assistant, slim to none, I could still see where they might be called up in an emergency if indicated by the Legislature and governor.

If there were a disaster and our National Guard or a large proportion of it was located overseas, as during the Iraq fiasco, these minutemen might be called up. The last thing we need is untrained, gun-carrying volunteers in mass numbers under no coordinated leadership.

I realize part of the bill is to prevent the federal government from taxing firearms. Taxing of firearms by the federal government is slim to none. Many guns are not registered, and congressmen from both parties would not have constituent support for a tax measure. Up until now, guns have been traded back and forth between private parties through sales or inheritance with the location of those guns unknown. The federal government is not going to send someone out tracking down all unknown guns.

Do we need volunteer minutemen for state emergencies? Possibly, with mandatory periodic training requirements for emergencies — trained in first aid, traffic control, search and rescue, crowd control and with a command structure under government control. However, I do not want those carrying guns to be untrained. If you want the state to save your guns from federal taxation, then you owe an obligation back in terms of valid training for participation in time of emergency. As noted in the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia ...”

Ralph Williams Joplin

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