GOP governor touts nonexistent features of Missouri’s famously weak gun control laws

GOP governor touts nonexistent features of Missouri’s famously weak gun control laws

These days, Republicans seem to think they can govern via talking points, but sometimes their well-rehearsed excuses for failing to pass urgently needed legislation violently collide with reality.

Such was the case on Thursday when Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visited St. Louis police headquarters to throw up his hands and assure his gormless gaggle of gun fetishists (i.e., his voting base) that nothing can be done about firearm massacres, so let’s just stop talking about it, please.

In the wake of yet another school shooting, Parson was fairly oozing bromides about the impossibility of stopping gun massacres in the only nation where this regularly happens.

According to local NBC affiliate KSDK-TV in St. Louis, Parson thanked police and security guards who responded to the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday, but he misled the public when it came to the laws that could have stopped it from occurring in the first place.

RELATED: 16-year-old girl says she’s only alive in St. Louis because school shooter’s gun ‘got jammed’

“You got a criminal that committed a criminal act, you know, and all the laws in the world are not going to stop those things,” Parson said.

Well, all the laws in the world certainly won’t stop shootings if they’re never enacted—which, to be clear, they haven’t been. Not in Missouri, anyway.

Someone may need to tell Parson, though.

KSDK-TV, St Louis:

According to police reports obtained by 5 On Your Side’s Christine Byers, a crisis response unit visited the home in June — the shooter attempted suicide on July 6 and made a threat with a violent weapon on July 26 — and officers visited the home for a domestic disturbance on October 15.

On at least three of those visits, police could have theoretically confiscated any weapons in his possession at the time if state law allowed it.

Police said all the red flags were there. The red flag laws were not.

At one point during the visit, Parson claimed, “People have mental health issues, you can take their weapons on that. That’s part of the bill that was passed and I think you can go in and read that.”

You’ll be shocked to discover that you can’t “go in and read that”—unless you have the secret Republican bullshit decoder ring—because it’s not in Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, which Parson signed into law back in 2021. KSDK asked Parson’s spokesperson to give evidence for his nonsense assertions, but never heard back. 

RELATED: GOP solution school shootings? Mental health. GOP response to mental health help to schools? No

Citing the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, ABC News notes that Missouri actually has some of the weakest gun control laws in the nation. The state doesn’t require a background check to buy or own a gun and, in fact, last year the governor and state legislature went out of their way to roll back many of the regulations that do exist.

Anyone who is 19 and older can legally conceal and/or open carry a gun in Missouri without a permit, according to the law, and the state also recognizes concealed weapon permits issued by other states.

In 2021, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act into law, which states “that all federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders… and regulations, whether past, present or future that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution [and Article I, Section 23] of the Missouri Constitution must be invalid in this state.”

Of course, in this case, the deadly violence could have almost certainly been prevented with better laws. In fact, an FBI background check initially prevented the shooter, Orlando Harris, from getting his hands on a weapon. He later purchased an AR-15 through a private dealer who had bought it legally through a federally licensed seller.

Further regulations—including red flag laws that allow police to confiscate weapons from potentially dangerous individuals—could have likely saved lives in this instance.

“The state of Missouri does not have a red flag law,” police Sergeant Charles Wall said. “That means SLMPD officers did not have clear authority to temporarily seize the rifle when they responded to the suspect’s home when called by the suspect’s mother on 10/15/22.”

If you ask police departments across Missouri, they’d likely tell you they don’t need “all the laws in the world” to put a dent in gun violence—but a few good ones might help. Police departments in St. Louis and Kansas City are currently challenging the Second Amendment Preservation Act in court. And Parson claims he doesn’t know why.

At least he does have all the usual platitudes down pat.

“I’m going to tell you something, you know … the cities can take whatever action they want, and that’s a legal action they can take,” he said. “I’ve been a law-abiding citizen all my life. … I am going to support people to have weapons that are law-abiding citizens. I’m never going to take that right away from them.”

Then you’ll get more of the same, governor, before you’re term-limited and sent home in 2024. Good luck with that.

RELATED: Many Republicans think mass shootings are ‘something we have to accept as part of a free society’

We’re deep in the homestretch before the all-important midterm elections, but it’s not too late to Get Out the Vote or rush a donation to a worthy Democratic candidate of your choice. Let’s do this, people! 

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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