Crime & Safety
7:27 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Missouri Lawmakers Introduce New Gun Bills

As Washington lawmakers mull gun control measures, Missouri legislators prepare to tackle two bills of their own. One bill would allow teachers and school administrators to carry concealed firearms in schools, and the other would make it illegal to enforce any new federal laws banning or restricting ownership of semi-automatic firearms in Missouri.

Republican Donna Lichtenegger co-sponsored the bill that would make additional federal restrictions illegal. She says calling for stricter gun control and blaming violent acts, such as the school shooting in Newtown, on firearms is “easy,” but is not the answer.

“It has been my thought that when a disaster hits, you just don’t go out and make decisions quickly. You should think about them just a little bit and look at what really happened. This didn’t happen necessarily just because of guns,” Lichtenegger said.

Lichtenegger says she has not thoroughly reviewed the bill that permits teachers and administrators to carry concealed firearms, but feels that is a discussion that should first take place at the local level.

St. Louis area Democratic representative Stacey Newman says she finds that House Bill “troubling” and does not believe it is a proper response to gun violence.

“So many superintendents now across the state, both urban and suburban, more are coming out saying that this is a very bad idea,” Newman said. “They do not want more weapons in a classroom. And, too, it does take away their ability in each school district to make those tough decisions.”

Newman recently filed her own bill to close the “gun show loophole” which allows unlicensed sellers to sell firearms without first conducting background checks.

She opposes the bill limiting federal firearm laws in Missouri, stating the bill will receive “no credence” under federal law.

Republican Senator Wayne Wallingford disagrees with that sentiment. He supports a similar bill in the Senate, and says the state is perfectly within its rights to pass a bill that would supercede federal law.

“As an endowment life member of the NRA I strongly believe in the protection of our constitutional right to bear arms,” Wallingford said. “Actually, the Supreme Court also upheld that in 2008 when they ruled that citizens have the right to carry and bear arms. So I consider the debate and discussion on our constitutional rights over.”

Wallingford says that federal law should not “preempt” state law when the state law is following the Constitution and the federal law is not.