Legislative gun protection puts lives in danger


photo illustration by Samantha Haney

While Missouri’s government aims to allow citizens to carry firearms, the federal court requires states to have proper gun regulation because of the violence caused by them. The current laws that are in place are not enough.

Ammu Lanka, News Assistant Editor

The question we must ask ourselves is whether citizens’ rights to bear arms are actually worth protecting. 

News reports and statistics prove not. According to the CDC, there were 1,426 mortalities from firearms in 2020 in Missouri. St. Louis County Police’s annual reports show that in 2022, there were 247 deaths from firearms in St. Louis alone. These statistics show how detrimental firearms are to our society, yet the amends being made are not doing anything to fix the issue.

In 2017, the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) initially went into effect in Missouri. According to the Senate, the act “declares as invalid all federal laws that infringe on the right to bear arms.”

While this potentially keeps citizens safe from any extraneous dangers, it still poses a threat to citizens’ lives, since there is currently no minimum age requirement for citizens to carry weapons.

A couple of months previously, an amendment was in discussion regarding this bill. The amendment would restrict minors from carrying firearms without adult supervision, but it was voted against on Feb. 9, according to a St. Louis Dispatch article.

Missouri’s regulation of firearms is concerning, even more so with legislators having mindsets like this. The mindset of protecting the right to bear arms instead of focusing on the danger firearms present is not proactive. In order to prevent shootings from happening, simply dismissing individuals who hold firearms will not solve the problem. 

In addition, if minors are going to be able to hold weapons legally, how are citizens’ lives not going to be in danger? Shootings in school are happening more than ever. The World Population Review shows that there have been a total of 39 school shootings in 2023 in Missouri. Allowing minors to have access to weapons without legal consequences will in no way reduce the number of school shootings happening.

It seems almost ironic that there are legislators attempting to preserve firearm use when it is the firearms themselves that are at the core of the problem.

The best way for Missouri to prevent gun violence is to have stricter regulations, like requiring background checks and permits, things Missouri has not had since SAPA went into effect. Overall, Missouri’s legislators need to understand the consequences of making decisions like allowing minors to carry guns whenever they want.

However, the issues within Missouri’s gun laws have room to change in the near future.

Recently, Federal District Judge Wimes recognized how this poses an issue, as Missouri’s state law goes directly against the federal law’s policies requiring regulation of firearms. SAPA was deemed unconstitutional on March 7, but it won’t go into effect until Aug. 28. This is due to the legal complications that come with the removal of a law.

Gun control in Missouri has been concerning for the past couple of years, Missouri is the 15th state with the most school shootings. As judges like Wimes acknowledge the issues of Missouri’s biased state legislation, there is hope for change. As SAPA goes out of effect, Missouri could potentially gain stricter regulation policies that would help promote a safer environment.