Man brings empty holster to St. Louis Zoo to comply with tempora -

Man brings empty holster to St. Louis Zoo to comply with temporary restraining order

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( – The St. Louis Zoo was granted a temporary restraining order against an Ohio man who was planning to bring a gun onto their property Saturday.

The zoo filed the paperwork asking the court for a restraining order against Jeff Smith Friday morning. 

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Smith told News 4 he was planning to enter the zoo at 1:30 p.m. Saturday because, he believes, Missouri allows open carry and the zoo is publicly owned. In an email sent Saturday morning, Smith said he plans to enter the Zoo "wearing an openly worn, empty holster." Smith did enter the zoo, but only wore an empty holster like he said he would, which complied with the judge's ruling. 

Smith wasn't alone, however. Several gun owners joined him at the zoo entrance, including one openly carrying a gun in a holster on his hip. Police officers stood nearby; they kept an eye on the situation. "This is the sort of overreach on the part of a government entity which diminishes gun rights and privileges that are clearly there under the Missouri statutes and the Missouri constitution," Smith said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is not about shoving my viewpoint down someone else's throat."

In the restraining order documents, the zoo says that around May 31 Smith contacted them to question their weapons policy and demand the “no weapons” signs be removed from its entrances. After zoo officials told Smith they would not change their policy, the document states, Smith created a Facebook page announcing a “Firearm Rights Challenge” would take place on June 13.

The document also states the zoo's gun policy is “consistent with the laws of the State of Missouri, St. Louis Zoo's mission and the family-friendly environment it seeks to promote.” 

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