Gun Control | St. Louis Public Radio

Gun Control

In the wake of mass shootings comes the debate around gun laws. This week, I explore a different angle: the personal responsibility of carrying a firearm. 

Natalie Heath, of Marquette High School, cheers as St. Louis-area high school students speak at a protest outside Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's office in downtown St. Louis. April 20, 2019
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

High school students from across the St. Louis region took part in another day of action Friday to call for improved school safety and tighter gun control measures.

The protest fell on the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where 13 people were killed. Many consider that event the moment when mass school shootings entered Americans’ consciousness. The Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, has rocketed student activists to the center of the debate over guns.

Students at Maplewood Richmond Heights remember the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
File Photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the fatal shooting of students in Florida in February, many young activists have organized walkouts, rallies and calls to action. On March 24, young people all over the country will take to the streets again in a nationwide rally they’re calling “March For Our Lives.”

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with local students involved in myriad causes they are passionate about to discuss youth’s role in activism.

Jeremy Meuser, 13, refects during the school walkout at Maplewood Richmond Heights.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Students in St. Louis — and around the country — walked out of school Wednesday morning as part of a national call for improved school safety and tighter gun-control measures.

Clayton High School students leave class during a walkout and press conference to call for improved school security on Feb. 23, 2018, a week after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Students across the St. Louis region are planning school walkouts this week as part of a national call for improved school safety and tighter gun-control measures.

Students at more than a dozen schools in the area are planning events Wednesday morning in response to the mass school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. That’s left school officials to figure out the best way to respond: should they support student involvement and civic engagement, or should they enforce school rules?

"The Second Amendment."

If you've lived in America, you've heard those words spoken with feeling.

The feeling may have been forceful, even vehement.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

The same words can be heard uttered in bitterness, as if in blame.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

Jamaiyah Redmond and Chloé Guerin, both Clayton High School juniors, while listening to classmates call for school safety improvements Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

High school students in St. Louis are lending their voice to the national debate about making schools safer.

On Friday morning, a few dozen student from Clayton High School trudged across a soggy field in front of their school and called for an assault-weapons ban in Missouri and money for security upgrades to schools.

Erin Achenbach | St. Louis Public Radio

About 300 people poured into the hallways of the Missouri Capitol Tuesday, calling for lawmakers to avoid creating new laws that would loosen existing gun regulations.

Kim Westerman, who lives in St. Louis and volunteers with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said they’re concerned that pro-gun lawmakers in Missouri remain unmoved by the recent mass shooting at a high school in Florida that claimed 17 lives.

The St. Louis homicide toll is now over 200 – reaching a 21 year high after three women were fatally shot in late December.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to discuss an effort to reduce the pool of weapons in the area. He talked about a gun buyback program in St. Louis City with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Flickr | McCaskill | April 2015

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is continuing to hold town hall meetings in so-called “Trump Country,’’ part of her Democratic quest to improve her re-election chances next year through reaching every potential rural supporter she can find.

Wednesday marked her 46th town hall event this year, this one in in Washington, Missouri, where about 70 percent of last year’s presidential votes went for Republican Donald Trump. McCaskill told the crowd packing the Washington City Council chambers that she owed it to all Missourians, whether they support her or not,  to “show respect.”

The Moms Demand Action group poses for a photo on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, at the Missouri Capitol.
Krissy Lane | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 200 volunteers from the national Moms Demand Action organization protested two new gun-concealment legislation at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

The measures would allow students and teachers in K-12 public schools and university campuses to carry concealed handguns. 

Becky Morgan, the head of the Missouri chapter, said they have support from university presidents, law enforcement leaders and leaders of college campuses.

File photo | Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

Missouri State Capitol. Missouri legislature. http://bit.ly/2cytTFT
Jim Bowen | Flickr

The Missouri Legislature’s veto session will take place this Wednesday, Sept. 14. For the bills that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed during the 2016 legislative session, both House and Senate will need a two-thirds vote to override the veto.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon's preparation for the annual veto session included telling reporters Wednesday why several of the vetoed bills should remain dead.

He spent time discussing bills that have gotten less publicity, which includes HB 1870. It contains language that would allow some businesses to ignore the federal E-Verify program if using it would "result in a substantial difficulty or expense.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some have described the National Rifle Association’s decision to endorse Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster over GOP hopeful Eric Greitens as surprising or out of the blue. But for people who pay attention to how the group endorses candidates, Koster’s endorsement was actually quite predictable.

That’s because the NRA typically backs candidates with definitive voting records (like Koster) over political newcomers (like Greitens). It’s exactly what happened in 2012, when the NRA backed Koster’s re-election bid for attorney general over Republican nominee Ed Martin.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, left, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James were the keynote speakers to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

PHILADELPHIA – For Kansas City, Mo.,  Mayor Sly James, gun violence isn’t a philosophical exercise or a buzzword.

The Democratic official told members of the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention that he often goes to crime scenes where a person has used a gun to kill someone. Often, James said he sees people who are “prostrate on the ground because they’re so grief-stricken.”

A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr

Updated 3:14 p.m. with reaction -- Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a wide-ranging bill that would have eased regulations on people seeking to obtain or renew a conceal-carry endorsement or permit.

Nixon cited one of his main concerns with Senate Bill 656 when he told reporters last week that it could rob county sheriffs of the authority to deny conceal-carry privileges when they see fit. He expanded on that concern in his veto message today.

(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)
(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)

The Missouri House is thumbing its nose at President Obama. The Republican-controlled chamber passed a resolution Wednesday asking Congress to reject his recent executive order requiring tighter gun control measures.

The order, issued last month, contains more than 20 actions. They include requiring all businesses that sell guns to be licensed and requiring them to conduct background checks on buyers at gun shows and over the internet.

At a glance: Missouri and Illinois gun laws

Jan 5, 2016
A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr

President Barack Obama detailed Tuesday his efforts to reduce gun violence nationwide, including requiring background checks, creating stricter licensing for firearms sellers, and increasing access to mental health care.

In his speech, Obama referred to Missouri, which has made headlines for its increasing homicide rate and its loosening of gun control laws. He said:

Black semi-automatic pistol
(via Flickr/kcds)

Legislation being proposed in Missouri would establish a sales tax holiday for new gun purchases.

The pre-filed bill is sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa.  He has not yet responded to requests by St. Louis Public Radio for an interview, but he issued a brief written statement on Monday.

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