ST. LOUIS – Just hours after St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced plans for new gun legislation Tuesday, the Missouri Attorney General fired back and said her office is “on notice.”
Jones, with support from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, plans to introduce new legislation that would ban AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar military-grade weapons on city streets.
Andrew Bailey announced Tuesday evening that he wrote a letter to Jones, which stated that new legislation to ban military-grade weapons would “violate the constitutional right of Missourians to keep and bear arms.”
“It is my hope that you will reverse course and use existing law to combat the crime plaguing your city, rather than choosing to target the rights of law-abiding Missourians,” said Bailey to Jones in the letter. “In other words, I encourage you to go after criminals, not guns.”
Bailey contends that Jones’ proposal “would not survive strict scrutiny analysis codified in the Missouri Constitution” and that any change would require “a compelling state interest.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who appointed Bailey to the role of attorney general, shared similar concerns over the new gun proposal.
“Governor Parson is a strong and proud supporter of the Second Amendment and does not support any measure that he views weakens Missourians’ right to bear arms,” said Johnathan Shiflett, press secretary for Gov. Parson’s office, in a statement to FOX 2. Cities with the strictest gun laws still have some of the highest rates of gun violence because, simply, criminals are not deterred by restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
While announcing her plans for legislation on Tuesday, Jones acknowledged she expected some GOP pushback. She recently signed Board Bill 29 into law for St. Louis as well, which requires individuals openly carrying firearms to have a concealed carry permit.
Jones also said the newly-proposed legislation would be designed to:
- Prohibit military-grade weapons on city streets
- Prevent the transfer or sale of guns to minors
- Take action on military-grade guns and similar untraceable firearms
- Prepare St. Louis for the passage of Blair’s Law to ban celebratory gunfire
- Prohibit anyone convicted of insurrection or hate crimes from having guns in St. Louis
Bailey’s office also contends that the last element of her proposal would be illegal under Second Amendment protections. It’s unclear what’s next for the legislation after Bailey’s challenge.