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Category: Commentary

Federal Judge: City may limit Good Samaritans’ ability to feed the homeless

Federal Judge: City may limit Good Samaritans’ ability to feed the homeless

A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that St. Louis may punish Good Samaritans for providing meals to the homeless unless those Good Samaritans first comply with the same costly and burdensome regulations that govern restaurants and grocery stores. The plaintiffs, Pastor Ray Redlich and his colleague, Chris Ohnimus, regularly seek out hungry neighbors on the streets of St. Louis, obeying their Christian faith’s command to provide food to those in need. As Ray and Chris told the court,…

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Happy Birthday, Missouri Constitution!

Happy Birthday, Missouri Constitution!

On July 19, 1820, Missouri’s first Constitutional Convention signed and adopted the state’s first constitution. With the foundational document of statehood thus in place, Missouri elected its first state government and federal Congressional representatives in the fall of 1820, although Congress refused formally to recognize Missouri’s admission to the Union until August 10, 1821. In the intervening two centuries Missourians have drafted several other constitutions, actually adopting new ones in 1865, 1875, and 1945. Several years ago the Freedom Center’s…

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St. Louis Lawsuit Against Second Amendment Preservation Act is Totally Baseless

St. Louis Lawsuit Against Second Amendment Preservation Act is Totally Baseless

The Missouri state legislature recently passed (and Governor Parson quickly signed) HB 85, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, a bill designed to ensure that state and local law enforcement in Missouri are focused on enforcing gun laws passed by our own lawmakers in Jefferson City, not the folks in Washington, DC. Opponents of this bill have loudly and repeatedly claimed that SAPA is unconstitutional… but most have declined to offer any legal analysis that would actually support these claims. At…

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Missouri Courts Must Uphold Citizens’ Right to Possess Firearms for Defensive Purposes

Missouri Courts Must Uphold Citizens’ Right to Possess Firearms for Defensive Purposes

In 2014, Missouri voters passed Amendment 5, which updated Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution, which protects “the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property[.]” The amendment was explicitly designed to give this right the most extensive protections possible, requiring courts to subject to “strict scrutiny” any restriction on citizens’ rights of self-defense, and obligating the…

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Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks

Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                         CONTACT: Dave Roland July 26, 2019                                                                                          (573) 567-0307 Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks Mexico, Missouri—Today a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a person surrenders their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures simply by getting behind the wheel of any vehicle the state defines as a “commercial vehicle” – and that this applies to farmers who…

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Eighth Circuit Refuses to Address Constitutionality of Turf Grass Mandate

Eighth Circuit Refuses to Address Constitutionality of Turf Grass Mandate

BLOOMING RIDICULOUS: Eighth Circuit Refuses to Address Constitutionality of City Ordinance Forcing Widow with Grass Allergy to Grow Turf Grass Mexico, Missouri—Today a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to address the question of whether a St. Louis suburb can force Janice Duffner to devote at least half of her yard to growing the very plant that makes her sick. The court also refused to address the question of whether the city could punish Mrs. Duffner…

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Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Brazen Defiance of Transparency

Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Brazen Defiance of Transparency

Tragedy struck Darla Nieder in October 2017 when her daughter fell victim to a double-murder in St. Louis City. In February 2018, desperate to learn whatever she could about her child’s death, Nieder exercised her right to request unredacted, unedited copies of records related to the investigation of her daughter’s death.  State law says that a law enforcement agency receiving such a request must within thirty days either produce the requested materials or file a motion with the circuit court…

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St. Louis City Forces Good Samaritans to Appear in Court, Unceremoniously Drops Charges

St. Louis City Forces Good Samaritans to Appear in Court, Unceremoniously Drops Charges

On October 31, an officer of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department gave citations to Ray Redlich and Chris Ohnimus. Their alleged offense? Giving sandwiches to the homeless. The citations required Redlich and Ohnimus to appear in St. Louis City Municipal Court on the morning of December 4, to face the charges against them. If either of the two failed to appear for this court date, the court could have issued warrants for their arrest and they would also have…

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Volunteers Are Lobbyists, Rules Eighth Circuit: Sharply Divided Panel Deals Severe Blow to the First Amendment

Volunteers Are Lobbyists, Rules Eighth Circuit: Sharply Divided Panel Deals Severe Blow to the First Amendment

Mexico, MO – Today, an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled, 2-1, that unpaid citizen activists can be forced to comply with the same registration, reporting, and disclosure requirements as professional lobbyists working for large corporations. This decision is unprecedented and represents a significant strike against Americans’ First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Ron Calzone is a citizen activist from Dixon, Missouri, who has for years traveled to the State Capitol to share his…

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Freedom Center’s Director of Litigation on Front Page of Time Magazine

Freedom Center’s Director of Litigation on Front Page of Time Magazine

A couple of months ago Dave Roland, the Freedom Center of Missouri’s director of litigation, was invited to take part in a special project by Time Magazine. French photographic artist JR would take pictures of a couple hundred people from all sides of the debate on firearms in America, then allow them – in their own words – to explain their perspective. The photographs would then be woven into an interactive mural. A still version of the mural would be…

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