DAVID ROSMAN: Easing up on Missouri’s gun laws won’t prevent violence | Local Columnists

Concealed Carry

Yes, we live in dangerous times.

Yes, we do need stricter firearms conceal and carry laws.

So why would state Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, introduce two proposed laws, the first allowing “people to carry hidden, loaded handguns into sensitive areas including day cares, schools, college campuses and even bars” and the second “that would make it illegal for state and local law enforcement to assist with the enforcement of federal gun laws”?

It took a while before I realized what SB 633 intends to do. In essence, it would allow people to carry concealed handguns in virtually all public and private places, without restrictions. It also would prohibit “the state or any county, municipality or other political subdivision from imposing any ordinance, rule, policy, contractual agreement, or employment agreement restricting an employee with a valid concealed carry permit from carrying a concealed weapon.”

What we do not need is more firearms on the streets and in our public and private institutions, especially where children and alcohol are present.

Proposed laws similar to SB 588 have been introduced in the State House by Jered Taylor, R-Republic, and Robert Ross, R-Yukon.

SB 588 is possibly in violation of Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States, which establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it and treaties made under its authority constitute the “supreme Law of the Land.” This includes the federal gun safety laws.

Missouri already has some of the most lax firearms laws in the country. There is no reason to further eliminate firearm safety laws of our state. More firearms in schools and bars will only produce more anxiety for students and restaurant and tavern patrons — and more shootings.

This includes the six people injured by gun fire at the River Banquet Center in Cape Girardeau in February and the mass shooting at 9ine Ultra Lounge in January in Kansas City, where two were killed and another 15 were injured. The year started off with a mass shooting in St. Louis, killing three and injuring two at a local party where alcohol was being served.

That’s 19 in five years versus 34 mass shootings in the first 45 days of 2020.

On the public safety side, Rep. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis, has introduced a “red flag” law, “establishing an “extreme risk order of protection” that shall be granted when a person is found to pose an extreme risk to him or herself or others by possessing, controlling, or owning a firearm.” Upon a court hearing, the court could order the surrender of firearms if that person is shown to be a danger to themselves or others.

What is not being discussed by our legislature are suicide deaths involving guns. On News Year’s Day alone, there were more than 130 suicide deaths involving guns in the U.S. In 2017, 58 percent of gun-related deaths were from suicide.

According to a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center, 3 in 10 Americans own firearms. The NRA claims to have 5 million members, a number The Washington Post believes to be inflated. Yet, of the non-NRA member gun owners, more than 75% want to close the gun show loophole. Eighty percent are in favor of barring those on no-fly lists from gun ownership. Ninety percent do not want the mentally ill to own firearms. Contrary to the National Rifle Association’s stance, guns do not save people.

Adding more concealed handguns to the mix and ignoring federal law will not reduce the number of shootings.

This is not a Second Amendment issue but an issue of public safety — and that must take precedence.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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