The senate moves to protect gun rights in emergencies
Senators behind the plan say they’re drawing on the experiences in New Orleans, when local officials ordered the confiscation of guns from the public after Hurricane Katrina.
Senator Kevin Engler of Farmington says that move left people unable to defend their homes or their businesses from looters. His bill says nobody can prohibit or restrict the lawful possession or sale of weapons during an emergency.
Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis says Engler’s bill will only make things worse. She says the bill will appeal to those who think problems are solved with guns. Engler says no "wild west" mentality has sprung up in Missouri since concealed weapons were legalized several years ago and none will with passage of his bill.
The Senate has sent Engler’s bill to the House despite Bray’s concerns that it will encourage intimidation and killings. Engler says his bill does not enlarge any gun rights; it just protects them. He says illegal use of a legally-possessed gun would remain a crime in Missouri if his bill makes it into law.
The House will take it up after the Spring break.