Guns.com is busy soaking in the sights, sounds (and smells?) of St. Louis at the 2012 NRA convention but our trip to Missouri has also given us a chance to mingle with gun owners, writers and lobbyists from across the country and swap notes. For example, the word on the street here in Saint Louie is that if a new proposal gets wings, NRA members will be permitted to carry their guns home with them, openly or concealed—on public transportation.
Currently, Missouri state lawmakers are mired in legislation that works to block all cities (though this is clearly aimed St. Louis and Kansas City) from using local law to impose restrictions on concealed handguns on city buses and trains (a tactic we have been seeing more and more local governments attempt as a way of circumventing the legal process to enact gun control). The measure was introduced and reviewed last week and scheduled for vote three day ago but has not, as of yet, appeared before a House committee.
State lawmaker Representative Ed Schieffer crafted the legislation after several Missouri gun owners contacted him and expressed concern about their safety (and carry rights) on city trains and buses. Advocates maintain it will create a safer environment on public transit and continue a political pervasiveness in the state towards concealed carry and a citizen’s right to self-defense.
“They feel it’s very incumbent upon their safety and their Second Amendment rights,” Schieffer told the press.
But these numbers do little to assuage the concerns of state gun owners who affirm that any number of assaults or crimes is too many. Hardware store owner Steve Marx was one of the St. Louis residents who testified in support of the bill. Marx told a committee that he finds he cannot go anywhere without his gun since he was assaulted on the street near his home two years ago. He said at the hearing:
“If I choose to wait for public transit on the street, I’m vulnerable — very vulnerable. This is why I feel so strongly about this issue.”
As to the fate of this bill, Guns.com is no swami but if recent pro-gun legislation is any indication, the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City has been smiling on gun owners as of late. The House has passed two firearms bills this session and another big one earlier this year: the first allows gun owners to keep their weapons in their cars (despite any objections from business or property owners) and the other protects gun owners from potential workplace discrimination, creating a special protected class in the law akin to those protecting race, gender or sexuality. Missouri also dropped the minimum age for concealed carry permits from 23 to 21 within the year.