I’d like to see specifically what gun control proposals Missouri Governor Mike Parson is agreeing to implement.
Gov. Mike Parson met with the mayors of the state’s four largest cities Monday and announced his support of gun legislation focused on juveniles, domestic abusers and prior offenders — areas which would for the most part mirror already existing federal law.
In announcing his support of the measures alongside Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Parson told reporters it was part of an “immediate” response to what has been a violent year in Missouri.
More pressing issues surrounding firearms and constitutional rights would be part of a “long-term discussion,” he said, indicating the measures presented might have a chance at passage in the gun-friendly, Republican-majority legislature.
“One of the things we are really focusing on is what can we do in the immediate future,” Parson said. “There are a lot of long-term discussions to be had in this state, we are all pretty familiar with that when it comes to the Second Amendment, when it comes to the guns on the streets, but there are a lot of things in-between that I think we can get done.”
Like … ?
Is Parson’s remark just filler rhetoric to placate the anti-Second Amendment crowd or is it a dodge to specify any particulars out of fear that it will rile up the very active rural Missouri 2A base against a Republican governor?
One measure is to ensure minors do not have access to handguns. Currently, it is a federal felony for anyone under 18 to possess a handgun, but Missouri has no such law. This makes it difficult for prosecutors when charging young offenders.
This is current federal law regarding age restrictions and handguns, [18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1)]:
An individual between 18 and 21 years of age may acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who resides in the same State, provided the person acquiring the handgun is not otherwise prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A Federal firearms licensee may not, however, sell or deliver a firearm other than a shotgun or rifle to a person the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under 21 years of age.
There may be State or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Contact the office of your State Attorney General for information on any such requirements.
Unlawful transfer of weapons, penalty. — 1. A person commits the offense of unlawful transfer of weapons if he:
(1) Knowingly sells, leases, loans, gives away or delivers a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to any person who, under the provisions of section 571.070, is not lawfully entitled to possess such;
(2) Knowingly sells, leases, loans, gives away or delivers a blackjack to a person less than eighteen years old without the consent of the child’s custodial parent or guardian, or recklessly, as defined in section 562.016, sells, leases, loans, gives away or delivers any firearm to a person less than eighteen years old without the consent of the child’s custodial parent or guardian; provided, that this does not prohibit the delivery of such weapons to any peace officer or member of the Armed Forces or National Guard while performing his official duty; or
(3) Recklessly, as defined in section 562.016, sells, leases, loans, gives away or delivers a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to a person who is intoxicated.
2. Unlawful transfer of weapons under subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section is a class E felony; unlawful transfer of weapons under subdivisions (2) and (3) of subsection 1 of this section is a class A misdemeanor.
Yes, possession of a handgun not in accordance with federal law is a violation of federal law. Missouri isn’t an exception to any of these federal statutes: It is a federal law to transfer a handgun to a minor. A minor may only possess a handgun under strict federal guidelines. Federal ammunition restrictions also exist.
It’s not “difficult” to charge minors with the crimes they commit, as the Vonderrit Meyers case shows, for example. The problem with Meyers’ case, as with so many in cities like my hometown of St. Louis, is the judicial apathy. I covered this case here and on air five years ago:
Cohen requested a bond reduction for Myers. Associate Circuit Court Judge Theresa Burke approved it, reducing the bond to $10,000. Myers was allowed to return home after paying 10 percent of that ($1,000) and with orders to wear a GPS monitoring device on his ankle.
Reducing bond by such an extravagant amount was ridiculous and allowed Meyers to return to crime resulting in his death. This is an example of the rule, not the exception, as it relates to sentencing. Sadly, this young man could have changed his life, he had time. He could have chosen a better and righteous path. The “difficulty” is that of a justice system which makes criminals easy in their poor choices by offering no judicial deterrent.
Treece noted many of the offenders who were arrested surrounding the recent spike in violence across the state had previous felony charges that were reduced to misdemeanors. This allowed them to continue carrying handguns. With a stricter state law, prosecutors can use the right to carry as leverage in a misdemeanor plea bargain.
Treece makes my point for me as to how the problem isn’t with the law-abiding, it’s with those involved in drug and gang violence, repeat offenders (as Meyers was) and yet the innocent are expected to pay the price for their crimes by forfeiting our rights. Unacceptable.