Listen to this article here

Missouri lawmakers voted against a ban on minors carrying firearms in public. Without the ban, minors do not need adult supervision to carry a gun on public land. 

Minors can now legally carry firearms in public. In 2017, Missouri repealed most concealed gun carry laws.

The vote for a ban on minors carrying guns in public failed in the Missouri House of Representatives. Only one Republican voted for the ban on minors carrying guns in public.

Meanwhile, Missouri Democrats are incensed that the ban failed. Missouri law enforcement actually requested the ban on minors carrying a gun in public.

According to Democratic Rep. Donna Baringer, law enforcement wants to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.” However, now the police cannot stop minors from carrying a gun in public.

The attempted ban on minors openly carrying guns was part of a wider debate in Missouri congress. Lawmakers are concerned about crime across the state.

Teens can carry semi automatic weapons down the street after ban on minors carrying guns in public fails

Initially, the ban on minors carrying guns was part of a larger legislative bill to fight crime. However, that bill changed, and the change removed the provision on minors carrying guns in public. 

At this point, Missouri lawmakers are concerned about the ramifications of not passing the ban. According to Baringer, “Now they have been emboldened, and they are walking around with them.” 

Yet Republicans seem unfazed by not passing the ban on minors carrying guns in public. According to Rep. Tony Lovasco, a Republican from the St. Louis Missouri suburb of O’Fallon, the ban was unnecessary.

“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. We don’t know that yet,” said Lovasco. 

Additionally, “Generally speaking, we don’t charge people with crimes because we think they’re going to hurt someone,” he said. 

Yet data proves that giving minors access to guns can be dangerous, especially at schools. According to FBI research, In nearly half of active shooting incidents recorded at educational institutions across the country between 2000 and 2019, the offender was under 18.

Also included in the Missouri bill is the governor’s right to appoint a special prosecutor in counties with high crime rates, including St Louis. By some metrics, St Louis has the highest crime rate of any city in the United States. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...