Gun Rights

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Prompted by a Democratic filibuster, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on proposals to expand the nation’s background checks for gun purchases, and to bar some people on no-fly lists from purchasing guns.

But the proposals are expected to highlight a sharp divide over what Congress should do, if anything, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed at least 49 people in a gay nightclub.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

Even before the shootings this week in Orlando, Fla., guns had become a major issue in Missouri’s contest to choose the next governor.

The state’s four Republican candidates have made clear for months that they support gun rights, and several — notably former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway — have pressed for expansion.

The likely Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, delivered strong words last week condemning gun violence. But he also has not backed away from his pro-gun stance that earlier has won him endorsements from the National Rifle Association.

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives throw their papers in the air to mark the end of the legislative session on Friday in Jefferson City.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri legislators heading home, the focus in Jefferson City now shifts to Gov. Jay Nixon – who will decide what to sign and what to veto among close to 140 bills now sitting on his desk.

And despite what the governor called “stark differences’’ of opinion, Nixon sounded more conciliatory in his post-session address than he has in recent years. The governor’s implied message Friday was that, from his perspective, this 4 and ½-month session could have been worse.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

Students, faculty and guests listen to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University on April 25 2016
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The friendship that endured between justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia despite their ideological differences is well-known, but not uncommon, according to a former colleague.

"Nino was well-liked by his colleagues across the judicial spectrum," retired Justice John Paul Stevens said of Scalia, who died in February. "Nino's friendships with his colleagues, including both those who frequently disagreed with his views and those who more regularly shared his views, is legendary."

(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.

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state law that bans all felons -- even those convicted of nonviolent crimes -- from possessing a weapon.

"Missouri's constitution does not prohibit the legislature from restricting nonviolent felons' right to possess firearms," judge Laura Denvir Stith wrote for the five-judge majority in one of three opinions on the issue released Tuesday. "Section 571.070.1 survived strict scrutiny review under the prior version of article I, section 23, and this Court already has held that Amendment 5 did not substantially change article I, section 23. The statutory bar is valid."

s_falkow | Flickr

The past year was a landmark one for many legal issues—both nationally and locally. On Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” our monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss the legal decisions (or lack thereof) which had the most impact on 2015. They also looked ahead to 2016.

Joining the show:

In 2015, on average there is more than one mass shooting per day in the United States—and the impact of that is felt across the country. From the terror attacks in Charleston, Paris, Colorado Springs and San Bernardino to shootings closer to home, it is hard for the topic to stay off the minds of Americans these days.

Jeffry Smith drinks a bottle of water inside the Saint Louis Zoo while wearing an empty gun holster on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next few days, gun-rights activists will challenge the limits of the Missouri’s gun laws in different ways.

On Friday, an attorney for Ohio activist Jeffry Smith will ask St. Louis circuit judge Joan Moriarty to allow Smith to bring a handgun into the St. Louis Zoo, despite signs declaring it a gun-free zone.

(via Flickr/kcds)

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether a gun rights constitutional amendment passed last year cancels out an older state law that bars convicted felons from owning firearms.

The high court heard three cases Tuesday in which lower courts dismissed felony gun possession charges based on the new amendment, which makes gun ownership an "unalienable right" that the state is obligated to defend.

Jeffry Smith drinks a bottle of water inside the Saint Louis Zoo while wearing an empty gun holster on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Ohio gun-rights activist Jeffry Smith walked into the south entrance of the Saint Louis Zoo Saturday wearing an empty gun holster. One other man with an empty holster entered with him. Smith walked to the fountain on the far end of the entryway, took a drink of water, then turned around and walked back outside the zoo’s gates.

Smith originally planned to enter the zoo with a handgun, but decided Friday to wear an empty holster instead after a St. Louis judge issued a temporary restraining order against him and anyone else who might try to test the zoo’s rule against weapons.

Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis judge has blocked an Ohio man from carrying a gun into the Saint Louis Zoo to test a state ban on weapons in certain educational and child care facilities and amusement parks.

Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 29 to include organizer participant count.

Dozens of people armed with hand guns and long guns gathered in downtown St. Louis Saturday to put new Missouri gun laws to the test. With guns slung across chests and strapped to hips, the group walked from CityGarden to the Gateway Arch.  According to event organizers, 72 open-carry supporters participated in the event.

But first, they spent about an hour talking amongst themselves and to passersby.

James Cridland via Flickr

Legal questions surrounding Michael Brown’s death and events in Ferguson again dominated the conversation among our legal roundtable.

Justice Department Investigations

The Justice Department has three roles in Ferguson, said William Freivogel, director of the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. First: A criminal investigation, independent of the state’s investigation.

(via Flickr/kcds)

Missouri residents who have concealed-carry permits will be able to openly carry their firearms anywhere in the state, as a result of the General Assembly decision to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a broad gun-rights bill.

The bill prevents municipalities from barring people from openly carrying firearms, lowers the minimum age to 19 for concealed carry permits in the state, and allows school districts to arm teachers. Police officers also will be barred from disarming people unless they are under arrest.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Missouri's Aug. 5 primary ballot includes several Constitutional amendments, but none has been as contentious as Amendment 7, the transportation tax proposal.

Amendment 7

James Cridland via Flickr

Two proposed amendments to Missouri's Constitution will appear on August's ballot, and they are raising questions among law enforcement officials, lawmakers and voters. 

Amendment 5 Would Expand Gun Rights In Missouri

Jul 13, 2014
(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

Amendment 5, a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment on the Aug. 5 ballot, seeks to protect further the right to bear arms.

"It's going to strengthen the protection that the right to keep and bear arms under the Missouri constitution," said Allen Rostron, a constitutional law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. "Everybody is familiar with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, of course, but there's also a provision in the Missouri state Constitution that guarantees a right to keep and bear arms, and this is designed to strengthen that right."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri House has killed the tax-cut bill that had been the marquee legislative issue this year, falling 15 votes short of the number needed after it had been vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

But it fell to the state Senate to kill – by one vote – HB436, the bill that sought to nullify federal gun laws. The measure also would have barred publication of the name of any gun owner and, according to law enforcement groups, would have prevented any joint state-federal task forces on law enforcement issues.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri tax-cut bill died Wednesday when the House fell 15 votes short of the number needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.

The final vote was 94-67 in favor of an override; 109 supportive votes were needed. The tally came after more than an hour of heated debate.

James Cridland via Flickr

During next week's veto session, Missouri legislators will likely attempt to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of the gun bill (H.B. 463), called the Second Amendment Preservation Act. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has announced that he agrees with Nixon's override, stating that the bill violates the Supremacy Clause of the constitution. If put into law, the bill would conflict with federal gun laws.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Politics changes less than we might think. Similar patterns reappear in U.S. history.

Today we have a tea party movement that has gained considerable leverage among Republicans. Its message is simplistic: less government, particularly at the federal level; no tax increases; pro-life; pro-gun.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It wasn’t too long ago that the General Assembly’s veto session was nothing more than a date on a calendar, with little or no importance in Missouri's political universe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Attorney General Chris Koster has warned lawmakers that he would “emphatically distance his office” from defending aspects of the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which seeks to "nullify" federal gun laws and bar federal agents from enforcing them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon used his veto pen more than ever this year. But he wants legislators to know he didn't do it to hurt their feelings.

Gov. Jay Nixon responds to a question about his pace of vetoing legislation at a bill signing in St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has dispatched two more gun-related bills – vetoing one and signing the other – as he continues what could be a record-setting string of vetoes since he took office.

But in these two cases, the governor on Friday made a point of citing his own gun-toting practices and his love of hunting (especially deer and doves).

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have blocked Missouri officials from enforcing federal gun laws, saying it would violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

(via Flickr/kcdsTM)

Will be updated.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to allow qualified gun owners to carry their weapons in public.

The proposal adopted Friday was brokered by House Speaker Michael Madigan, but it's opposed by several of his fellow Democrats, including the governor.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office has called the plan a "massive overreach" because it would wipe out all local gun regulations, including Chicago's ban on assault-style weapons. That's a deal-breaker for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who backs tough restrictions to curb the city's gun violence.

Sean Sandefur/St. Louis Public Radio

Few things are more polarizing in American culture than guns. There is no scarcity of opinions on the issue, but a voice that we have perhaps not heard is that of a younger generation, specifically those who are 18 to 29 years old. They fall under the millennial generation, and will make up the future of gun ownership. So, what do they think? St. Louis Public Radio’s Sean Sandefur reports.

Guns Evoke Many Emotions

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