Missouri senators have given preliminary approval to a proposed amendment to the state's constitution that would increase protections for gun owners.
The measure endorsed Monday would go before Missouri voters in November.
The amendment would define the right to bear arms as "unalienable" and require the state to defend against any "infringement" of that right. It would also include defending one's "family" with a firearm as a guaranteed constitutional right.
Sponsoring Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, says the change would ensure that future gun regulations are heavily scrutinized by Missouri's courts.
The amendment would specify that the Legislature could still impose restrictions on gun ownership for convicted violent felons and the mentally ill.
The proposal needs one more Senate vote before moving to the House.