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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.