St. Louis leaders “livid” over move to expand gun rights

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - There is uproar over proposed gun laws in Missouri. The proposals (SB 656  & HB 1468) would allow people to carry concealed weapons in public without any safety training.

A new TV ad from the groups Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fun, and the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, aims to shoot down the legislation.

“A new bill would dismantle Missouri law and let people carry hidden, loaded, guns in public, without a permit or any gun safety training,” the ad says.

The key word is “hidden”.  Currently people in Missouri can carry loaded guns in public without a permit or safety training as long as they don’t hide or conceal the guns.

The bills do not say so outright, but by restricting carrying concealed  “into any area where firearms ARE restricted”, it allows people to carry hidden or concealed anywhere firearms are NOT restricted.

St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay, and Police Chief, Sam Dotson, were livid.

“Making it easier to get a gun, making it easier to have a gun, to hold a gun not only makes our neighborhoods more dangerous but it also ties the hands of our cops when they’re out there trying to enforce our laws and make our neighborhoods safer,” Slay said.

“States that have stronger gun control laws don’t see the level of violence we do,” Dotson said.

“There’s a correlation there.  Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s a correlation.  If you want us to be strong on crime we have to have strong laws and we have to enforce the laws.  That’s the reality.”

The ad’s claim that the bills make it easier for violent criminals to carry guns is not true, said a staffer for HB 1468 sponsor, Republican State Rep. Eric Burlison from south of Springfield.

The bills simply allow a man or woman who can open carry a gun strapped to the outside of their legs, to carry the gun in their pockets or purses, the staffer said.

“That may work outstate someplace in the rural area.  I can tell you what, it doesn’t work in the city of St. Louis,” Slay said.

“We’ve taken over 700 guns off the streets this year.  That’s 700 guns in the hands of criminals.

We’ve seen over 600 people that have been victim of assault with a firearm this year,” Dotson said.

Republican State Senator, Brian Muzlinger, of Northeast Missouri, is the sponsor of SB 656.

He and Burlison were in session and did not comment, Tuesday.

An NRA spokesperson e-mailed me calling the claim about allowing dangerous criminals to carry guns an outright lie.

Lars Dalseide, Public Affairs Media Liaison for the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action emailed Fox 2.

“Claims that legislation on the floor will allow dangerous criminals to carry guns without a permit is an outright lie.  All they do is allow people who are legally allowed to own a gun – people who have already passed a background check - to carry a gun without a permit. In other words they can carry it on their hip, in their purse, or in a shoulder holster so their ability to defend themselves is not limited by the clothing they wear,” Dalseide said.

The legislative session ends Friday.