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With Missouri's increasing problem with gun violence, this is no time to loosen firearm restrictions.

The Show-Me State has one of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation and one of the highest rates of gun deaths. Still, the Republican-controlled legislature is again out to show their constituents that their right to bear arms should come with few restrictions.

The Missouri Independent reported Monday that lawmakers are advancing a litany of bills aimed at further loosening the state's gun laws.

The problem is that, over the past couple of decades, our state increasingly has been paying the price for loose gun laws.

Since the state passed its first conceal-carry law in 2003, gun-related deaths have climbed. In 2019, Missouri had the nation's sixth-highest gun-related death rate, the news organization reported. Last year, St. Louis and Kansas City broke homicide records.

In 2019 in Missouri, the number of Blacks killed by firearms was close to three times the national average.

One proposal this year would allow guns on college campuses. This is a bad idea, and one we've previously opposed.

Another would ban churches from prohibiting guns in places of worship. Others aim to keep local authorities from banning guns on public transit and property owners from banning guns in parked cars, the Missouri Independent reported.

The most problematic bill would prevent local law enforcement agencies from working with federal agents on certain crime-fighting efforts. It's called the "Second Amendment Preservation Act."

The legislation would bar state/local officers from enforcing federal firearms laws that "infringe" on a person's right to bear arms, the news agency reported. That could ban local/state law enforcement from helping federal agencies, and we agree with the law enforcement agencies that say that's a bad idea.

Federal laws trump state laws, and it's not usually a good idea for states to go against federal law unless it's through the court process.

We have the right to bear arms in our country, and we should. But it's not an unequivocal right. And gun legislation needs to be considered not in a vacuum, but in the context of our state's crisis of gun-related deaths.

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