Legislation requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 72 hours has been filed by a newly-elected Missouri lawmaker.
State Representative-Elect Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, who will be sworn-in Wednesday in Jefferson City, tells Missourinet there’s a huge crime problem across Missouri.
“It really doesn’t matter if it’s in the city of St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City or Columbia, crime is like rampant all across our state,” Aldridge says.
U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison has said that St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield are three of the top 15 most violent cities in the nation, on a per capita basis.
House Bill 1824 is a one-page bill. Under the bill, failure to report the loss or theft of a firearm within the 72-hour window would be an infraction for the first two violations, with fines up to $100 and $1,000, respectively. A third offense would be a misdemeanor with a possible six-month county jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.
Representative-Elect Aldridge describes his proposal as a preventative effort to fight crime.
“This past summer in St. Louis we’ve seen young kids from the age of 25 and down die every other day and then we continue to ask, what can we do?” says Aldridge.
At least 13 children were killed in St. Louis City shootings in 2019. There were 194 murders in St. Louis in 2019, and there have already been at least eight homicides there in the new year.
There were 148 homicides in Kansas City last year.
The Missouri Senate Interim Committee on Public Safety held a six-hour hearing at the Statehouse in November, and they’re expected to come up with recommendations to address gun violence for the upcoming session.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, who serves on that committee, describes the increasing gun violence as a public health crisis. She says the violence is plaguing inner cities and outstate.
Aldridge says some will view his legislation as an attack on the Second Amendment. Aldridge, a gun owner, tells Missourinet he believes his bill strengthens the Second Amendment.
“And if I would have lost my gun or if someone stole my gun I think it’s very important as a gun owner to make sure that you work with local law enforcement, who already have a tough job as it is,” Aldridge says.
He says some of the guns are being stolen during vehicle break-ins on Washington Avenue in St. Louis, which is in his district.
Aldridge and five other newly-elected state representatives will be sworn-in Wednesday at noon when the 2020 session begins. Republicans will control the Missouri House 114-48, with one vacancy.
Aldridge says he looks forward to working with his GOP colleagues, and having a conversation with them about the importance of his stolen firearm bill.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Representative-Elect Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, which was recorded on December 27, 2019:
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