Just hours before adjournment, the Missouri General Assembly has approved a bill that lowers the state’s legal age for carrying concealed weapons to 19 and allows the open carrying of firearms by any person with a valid concealed-carry permit.
The bill also allows schools to designate teachers or administrators as "school protection officers" who can carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device. But school districts authorizing the armed officers are required to hold a public hearing on the matter.
Differences between the Missouri House and Senate may once again kill an effort to nullify federal gun laws.
The Missouri House voted Tuesday evening by a veto-proof margin, 109-42, to approve a conference committee’s proposed final version of the bill, officially known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act.”
But the chief Senate sponsor, state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, declined to sign the panel’s compromise and told reporters that he may not bring up the version for a final Senate vote before this session ends on Friday. The result would be to kill the bill.
Every year more than 20,000 children ages 0 to 19 are injured by guns, said Dr. David Jaffe, the medical director of emergency services at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Every day, seven of those injuries are fatal.
Jaffe's hospital treats an average of 70 kids a year with gunshot wounds.
In late March, an 11-year-old boy was killed in his home in south St. Louis when he was hit by bullets fired at his house. Less than a week later, an 11-year-old girl was shot and critically injured as she was coming home from a fast food restaurant with her father, he said.
The Newtown massacre has been seared in our collective memory. Gun violence involving teens in St. Louis, especially teens of color, is among the highest in the country. The emotion in Roxana, Ill., after an April Fool’s prank this week put local focus on the issue.
From school shootings to drive-bys to suicide, the level of exposure children in America today have to gun violence is in the news and on the minds of many. Because of this prevalence, some health care professionals contend that it has become a public health issue. Among them:
There could be an effort next year to change the law allowing Missouri lawmakers and others to carry guns at the State Capitol. A loaded handgun was found by police in the basement of the Capitol last week. It had been left in a men's bathroom on top of a toilet paper dispenser. Police discovered that it belonged to a staff member of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, and that the staffer does have a conceal-carry permit. Jacob Hummel, the top Democrat in the Missouri House, says only law enforcement officers should be allowed to carry arms at the State Capitol.
Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.
On this week's show, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joins us to give a post-mortem of last week's veto session. The Republican goes into great detail on why he voted against the much-covered gun nullification bill, as well as what we can expect out of next year's session.