Missouri GOP on Kids Carrying Guns: Yes, Please
Missouri’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives doesn’t seem too concerned about minors openly carrying guns in public without adult supervision, as the legislative body on Wednesday voted down an amendment banning it.
According to Democratic Rep. Donna Baringer, police in her district supported the ban in order to put an end to “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.”
“Now they have been emboldened, and they are walking around with them,” Baringer said, the Associated Press reported. “Until they actually brandish them, and brandish them with intent, our police officers’ hands are handcuffed.”
Baringer also expressed her displeasure in a tweet late Wednesday.
The amendment was originally tacked on to a crime bill introduced by Republican Rep. Lane Roberts, the former police chief in Joplin, Missouri, and director of the state’s Department of Public Safety, after a bipartisan working group of three Democrats and three Republicans recommended it, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The amendment was axed last week by the GOP-majority Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, which Roberts chairs. “Every time we talked about the provision related to guns, we knew that that was going to be difficult on our side of the aisle,” Roberts said Wednesday, per the AP.
GOP Rep. Tony Lovasco explained his reservations with preventing kids from carrying guns on the street. “While it may be intuitive that a 14-year-old has no legitimate purpose, it doesn’t actually mean that they’re going to harm someone. We don’t know that yet,” he said. “Generally speaking, we don’t charge people with crimes because we think they’re going to hurt someone.”
The amendment failed in a 104-39 vote. Rep. Bill Allen of Kansas City was the lone Republican voting in favor.