The continued erosion of Missouri gun laws has had devastating consequences for public safety and must stop. As the News Tribune observed, proposals in the State Legislature (HB 258 and SB 121) which would expand the state’s concealed carry laws to allow hidden, loaded handguns in to bars and other locations goes too far and would cause more bloodshed than it would prevent. On Ash Wednesday, a Missouri senator’s aide brought a loaded gun into a Jefferson City bar, became intoxicated, and in an argument with another patron, said “I will (expletive) kill you” while pointing a finger pistol at his head. Had he not dropped his pistol onto the floor in the ensuing fight, the aide said “…he would have used it.” Charged with a misdemeanor, he will get to keep his gun if convicted. That same evening, two Missouri House members were in a fight at another bar, leaving one of them with a black eye. Both the state senator and one of the House members sit on committees that will soon vote on whether loaded guns should be allowed in places where alcohol is served such as bars, casinos and sports stadiums, as well as on college campuses, in private elementary and secondary schools, churches, day cares, hospitals, and local government buildings.
The actions of these state officials were reckless and irresponsible but will be dramatically compounded and repeated if the bills they are now considering become law. Evidence shows that weakening Missouri’s gun laws and allowing more guns in public places has not made people safer. According to the CDC, Missouri’s firearm death rate has increased faster than any other state and now ranks No. 5 in the nation.
Guns do not belong in our educational and day care facilities, and they certainly do not belong in bars, where the volatile mix of alcohol, loosened inhibitions, and aggression could turn a night on the town into a lethal crime scene. Enough is enough, text MISSOURI to 64433 to reach your representative and call Sen. Mike Bernskoetter at 571-2076 and tell them to vote no on this dangerous legislation.