Kansas City and St. Louis have been working to find gaps in Missouri’s gun laws. As a way to help them deal with violent crime that is plaguing their cities, they are proposing to ban high-powered guns and to keep guns out of the hands of minors.
Their proposed restrictions don’t sound like they are going to fly with some Republican leaders. In Missouri, people are allowed to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
When Missourinet asked Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, if he would support local gun restrictions, as long as they stay within the bounds of the law, here is what he had to say.
“I think you gotta be very careful to stay in your lanes,” said Parson. “You know, so cities can’t just go out there and do what they want to do. And when there’s a constitutional issue to it, or state legislatures do it, they can’t supersede that. I mean, just like we can’t supersede the federal government. I wish it was that easy because there’s a lot of things I wouldn’t like to do the federal government mandates me to do.”
In 2021, the Republican-controlled legislature passed the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which penalizes police for enforcing federal gun laws. A federal court ruled the law is unconstitutional, but Attorney General Andrew Bailey is appealing the decision.
Bailey, a Republican, said St. Louis’s proposed gun restrictions are unconstitutional.
“I understand the need to protect the community, but people having guns can protect themselves and their community as well. I see other cities, like Chicago, who have some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books, and they’re the most violent cities on the books. So, we need to be going after criminals, not guns,” Bailey told Missourinet.
He said his office has put Mayor Tishaura Jones’s office “on notice”.
“Your proposal would not survive the strict scrutiny analysis codified in the Missouri Constitution, which requires a compelling state interest to be addressed with a remedy that is narrowly-tailored. Not even you believe that your proposal is narrowly-tailored to actually stop crime, as evidenced by your statement that, ‘Chicago has strict gun laws as well but that doesn’t deter gun violence.’ It is my hope that you will reverse course and use existing law to combat the crime plaguing your city, rather than choosing to target the rights of law-abiding Missourians,” he said in a letter to Jones.
The Kansas City Police Department reports 129 homicides so far this year. According to the St. Louis Police Department’s homicide report, the city has had 105 reported homicides this year.
Jones hopes to:
• Ban “military-grade” assault weapons
• Prevent the sale or transfer of guns to minors
• Take action on ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms
• Prepare St. Louis for the passage of Blair’s Law, which would ban the firing of gunfire into the air to celebrate an occasion
“So, the legislation we’ll ultimately be filing in the coming days are things that are not currently covered in the state legislature. Does that mean that they won’t try to pass things later on? Absolutely. Or sue us? Absolutely. But again, you know, the state legislature has us fighting crime with our hands tied behind our backs. And so, with the one hand free that we do have, we’re going to fight like hell,” said Jones.
The Kansas City Council has advanced two gun proposals – one to ban machine guns, firearm silencers and guns that are turned into fully automatic weapons. The second one makes it illegal to transfer weapons and ammunition to minors.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he’s confident the proposals comply with Missouri law.
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