We know what you’re thinking: “Kids Can Legally Possess Firearms” sounds like the headline of an article from The Onion, or the premise of a morbid Saturday Night Live sketch, or a Mad Lib gone wrong (very, very wrong). But unfortunately for the citizens of Missouri — and for citizens of states that will see this and follow suit — state legislators are working to make this an actual legal reality.
*Grabs pillow to scream into*
Missouri’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted down an amendment last week that would make it illegal for a minor to openly carry a firearm in public without adult supervision. More than 100 representatives (104-39, to be exact) agreed that children should have this right, while only one Republican, Rep. Bill Allen of Kansas City, voted in favor of the amendment.
The “Show-Me State” showed the country they will go to dangerous, irresponsible, downright-insane measures to uphold the second amendment for even the youngest citizens. And when we say “youngest,” we mean youngest. In Missouri, there is no minimum age for lawfully possessing a firearm. So yes, a toddler, who can’t hold a spoon correctly, could legally hold a gun.
*Grabs the pillow again*
Democratic Rep. Donna Baringer said police in her district asked for the change in order to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s”.
“Now they have been emboldened, and they are walking around with them,” she said. “Until they actually brandish them, and brandish them with intent, our police officers’ hands are handcuffed.”
Are you hearing this? These teens aren’t legally allowed to drive yet — that would be dangerous at the meager age of 14! — but they can possess and carry an assault weapon. They aren’t trusted to vote or drink or join the military, but they are trusted to walk the streets of St. Louis with an AR-15. And they wouldn’t even need an adult watching them to be able to do it.
Because let’s not forget, that was a key point of this amendment. With this amendment, minors could still carry firearms, but they would need adult supervision to do so. Well that stipulation was truly outrageous to the 104 lawmakers who apparently care more about protecting the second amendment than protecting their constituents.
“While it may be intuitive that a 14-year-old has no legitimate purpose, it doesn’t actually mean that they’re going to harm someone, said Republican Rep. Tony Lovasco. “We don’t know that yet.”
Ah, yes! Let’s play a potentially fatal game of “f*ck around and find out!”
Unfortunately for Lovasco, we do have the research and to show they are statistically likely to harm themselves or others. In the past decade, the firearm suicide rate among minors has increased by nearly 60 percent. In 2020, at least 125 children under the age of five shot themself or someone else. And just last month, a 6-year-old shot and injured his first grade teacher.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Bill Hardwich said he has a “different approach for addressing public safety that doesn’t deprive people,” *ahem, minors, ahem* “who have done nothing to any other person [and] who will commit no violence, from their freedom.”
The bill will now make its way to the state Senate, which we can only hope is filled with people who have more sense and put more value on gun safety.
These celebrity parents have used their platformto speak out about gun law reform.
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