Petition would ask voters if cities and counties in Missouri should be able to enact stricter gun laws

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 8:38 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A new nonprofit called Sensible Missouri wants voters to decide if cities and counties in Missouri should be able to enact stricter gun laws.

It comes as leaders, residents and police in St. Louis City have raised concerns about the open carrying of guns through Downtown streets.

The proposed petition would put a constitutional amendment before voters on the November 2024 ballot.

“It stricks us as a sensible approach,” said Rick Rosenfeld, a criminologist with the University of Missouri St. Louis who has long studied crime in the region and says the need for gun laws differs from urban to rural areas.

“The needs differ and it seems to us to be sensible that counties to be able to enact regulations that fit their local needs,” said Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld joins former St. Louis County Public Safety Director Judge Jimmie Edwards in the effort to put the question before voters.

Edwards said this has been on his mind for years as he’s watched more and more people blatantly open carry on the streets of St. Louis.

“We have to do better,” said Edwards.

Missouri voters approved Amendment 5 in 2014, which made the state a constitutional open carry state. The state does not require concealed carry permits and there is no age requirement to openly carry a weapon, despite efforts from lawmakers.

Rosenfeld some counties would choose to do nothing and keep the laws the same, others like St. Louis City and St. Louis City, have expressed interest.

“We await more information on this effort, but it’s clear something must be done at the state level to help protect families from gun violence,” said a spokesperson for Mayor Tishaura Jones.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told News 4, “We need sensible gun laws and those are not coming from the state. I look forward to learning more about the nonprofit’s plans.”

Rosenfeld said the next step is to put out a statewide poll to gauge interest, and if there is enough, they will move forward with collecting signatures for a petition.

They would need 171,000 registered Missouri voters to sign the petition for it to get on the ballot next year.