Still angry over Missouri Gov. Mike Parson denying their request for a special session on gun control, House Democrats this week flooded the legislative docket with gun-related legislation.
Although these bills won’t get any traction now, it is a preview of the harsh stance against guns the Democratic caucus will be taking next January when the regular session begins.
State lawmakers were in Jefferson City this week for the constitutionally mandated veto session, which did not result in any overrides of bills rejected by the governor.
Despite no action on gun control, Parson did call a special session to run concurrently with the veto session to specifically address sales taxes on vehicle sales.
During the veto session no new legislation can be introduced and strict rules must be followed during a special session to address only the issues for which it was called.
On Monday, more than 20 gun-related bills were filed addressing a wide variety of firearms-related issues ranging from confiscating weapons to establishing stricter laws for gun violations.
Due to a gun-friendly Republican super majority in the Missouri Legislature and the governor being of the same party and mindset, the bills, if filed again in January, will have an uphill battle.
Going into the session, local lawmakers were expecting a Democratic backlash to Parson not allowing gun control to be addressed at the special session, but they were surprised by the legislation filed.
State Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, called the Democratic efforts a waste of time, but predicts it will be a major issue in January.
“To me the gun violence issue in St. Louis is like a pie,” he said. “There are several solutions that are part of the pie before jumping straight to gun control.”
Griesheimer explained specifically in St. Louis there needs to be more of a focus on police officers both in numbers and support.
“I was told the St. Louis Police Department is down 120 officers,” he said. “You also have a prosecutor who doesn’t prosecute certain small crimes and doesn’t support the officers.”
State Rep. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, said he didn’t see all of the gun-related bills, but imagines they were all about the same.
“It’s really sad what’s happening in the larger cities of our state, but trying to take away guns or control guns and ammunition in some form is not the answer,” Tate said. “Trying to keep mentally ill people or people who want to inflict harm in some way from having or attaining guns should not impact my rights to have one or several of them if I so choose.”
State Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, said she saw the bills and agrees with her colleagues on one particular aspect.
“I wish one bill was filed so that the St. Louis City prosecuting attorney would have to prosecute felons who commit these crimes,” Bailey said. “She fails over and over to hold the criminals accountable.”
Three of the bills specifically address the production or possession of high capacity magazines, one of which is designed to make it a Class C felony to do so.
Another bill (HB4) calls for the Missouri Department of Public Safety to commission a study on gun violence in the state.
Other proposed gun legislation included:
• HB2 — Prohibits the sale of an assault weapon to a person under 21.
• HB3 — Establishes the “Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.”
• HB5 — Modifies orders of protection by adding provisions that allow the confiscation of firearms from individuals a court deems to be a danger to themselves.
• HB6 — Establishes the offense of unlawfully storing a firearm in the presence of a child.
• HB7 — Requires all sales or transfers of ammunition be processed through a firearms dealer.
• HB10 — Modifies provisions relating to the transport and storage of firearms.
• HB14 — Adds public libraries to the list of places CCW permit holders are not authorized to carry a concealed weapon.
• HB18 — Specifies that the seller of a firearm must verify the age of the purchaser.
• HB21 — Requires a firearm owner to report lost or stolen firearms.
• HB23 — requires that all sales or transfers of firearms be processed through a licensed firearms dealer.