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House Passes Bill to Allow Gun Free Zones

Sarah Kellogg

The House General Laws Committee has passed a bill allowing firearms in current “gun free zones” along with other legislation concerning guns.

Of the eight bills that had public hearings on Monday, five passed through committee Tuesday evening. The voting mostly went by party lines, with all five Republican sponsored bills and one Democrat-backed bill passing the majority republican committee.

This includes a bill that allows firearms without a conceal and carry permit into current gun free zones such as bars, hospitals and churches.

All four democrats on the committee introduced amendments to this bill. Rep. Lauren Arthur’s, D-Kansas City, amendment would have removed bars from the list of areas guns would be allowed.

“I think it poses a pretty serious public safety risk when alcohol may escalate a situation and if someone’s carrying a gun, that could take it to a consequence that’s way out of hand,” Arthur said.

None of the four amendments passed.

Another bill that prohibits any ordinance that seeks to regulate the open carry of firearms also passed through the committee.

Rep. Jon Carpenter, D-Kansas City, said law enforcement officials do not support this legislation and that cities should be able to decide for themselves whether guns should be allowed.

“I’m gonna side with law enforcement, I’m gonna side with local control and I’m gonna side with common sense and I am gonna vote no on this bill, and I encourage everybody else to do so as well,” Carpenter said.

Democrat backed bills such outlawing the sale of ammunition to minors, removing Missouri’s current “stand your ground law” or requiring any permanent transfer of firearms to go through a licensed firearms dealer did not pass.

The committee also held a public hearing on two bills that would ban anyone convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm.

Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, and Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis, presented their bills together. Those also barred from gun ownership under the bill include: Individuals subjected to court orders related to domestic violence, anyone unlawfully in the United States, or anyone who relinquished their US citizenship.

Multiple women spoke on behalf the legislation and on their personal connection with domestic violence.

One of these women was Lichtenegger herself. She talked about the abuse her mother faced when Lichtenegger was young.

“When I was 4, I can vividly remember my mother getting beaten nightly by my drunken father. Because of that I ended up in a children’s home because he threatened to throw acid in my face,” Lichtenegger said.

Lichtenegger also talked about her own possession of guns, but how no one under any circumstances should have to be hurt.

“I am a life member of the NRA, and I am a proud member of the NRA, but I also know that we need to make sure that guns are in the right hands with the right people,” Lichtenegger said.

The legislation would reinstate a policy that was removed when lawmakers passed a bill in 2016 that removed the requirement for concealed carry permits.

“We need to go back in here and make this fix. It’s also important that we adopt this standard at the state level so we give our local prosecutors and local law enforcement a much-needed tool that can be difference between life and death,” McCreery said.

Sarah Kellogg is a first year graduate student at the University of Missouri studying public affairs reporting. She spent her undergraduate days as a radio/television major and reported for KBIA. In addition to reporting shifts, Sarah also hosted KBIA’s weekly education show Exam, was an afternoon newscaster and worked on the True/False podcast. Growing up, Sarah listened to episodes of Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! with her parents during long car rides. It’s safe to say she was destined to end up in public radio.