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Friday, April 12, 2013

Guns: Dems Slam GOP Bill to Loosen Weapon Storage Restrictions for State Employees' Cars

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

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Another day, another gun debate at the Missouri State Capitol.

This time, lawmakers are fighting over a GOP proposal that would allow state employees to keep their firearms in their vehicles on state property.

Democratic representative Stacey Newman -- who has struggled to get any traction with her universal background check bill -- says that these pro-gun proposals are embarrassing, especially while the federal government is debating serious safety measures.

"The national conversation is, 'How do we reduce gun violence? How do we save lives?'" Newman tells Daily RFT. "Here, there's no debate. It's all about, 'Let's increase gun sales.'"

House Bill 533 passed out of the House yesterday, which makes it one step closer to potentially being signed into law.

The legislation, full draft on view below, is sponsored by Republican representative Jeanie Riddle and includes several revisions to firearm laws in the state. The section that's got Newman fired up says:

The state shall not prohibit anystate employee from having a firearm in the employee's vehicle on the state's property provided that the vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible. This subsection shall only apply to the state as an employer when the state employee's vehicle is on property owned or leased by the state and the state employee is conducting activities within the scope of his or her employment.

"It's clearly an NRA bill," Newman says, adding that there wasn't even an opportunity for serious debate.

VIA

Her concern is that gun theft and gun trafficking are on the rise in urban areas and this only opens the door to more crime and gun violence.

"Every year, we come up with a loosening of concealed-carry [laws]," she says.

We reported earlier this week on an amendment in one privacy bill that would make the process of getting a concealed-carry permit easier.

Continue for more of our interview with Stacey Newman and for the full bill.

Newman points to a recent alert from St. Louis metro police encouraging Cardinals fans to leave their guns at home for Opening Day, arguing that the state doesn't need loosened restrictions on the storage of guns outside of the home.

"When the [police] chief has to put a statement out in the city [to not bring your guns to Busch Stadium]...there is a problem," she says.

While there may not be violence in the districts of some of these pro-gun lawmakers, urban areas suffer from these reduced regulations, says Newman, who represents parts of St. Louis.

Representative Stacey Newman. - VIA
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  • Representative Stacey Newman.

"What would the impact be to St. Louis city and the surrounding counties?" she says.

As written, the bill also appears to revise statues around unlawful possession of a firearm and punishments related to second-time offenses and gun possession while also in possession of a controlled substance.

Newman has said that she is focusing on supporting federal gun safety measures since the Republican leadership has squashed her efforts here.

It's frustrating, she says, to see lawmakers move backwards.

"This is Missouri's answer," she says.

Daily RFT left a message with Riddle's office yesterday and will update if we hear back.

Here's the latest version of the bill.

House Bill 533

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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