Missouri decides not to ban unsupervised minors from carrying guns on public property

FILE PHOTO: Firearms Unknown as Biden considers legislation restricting "ghost guns\

By Sharon Bernstein

(Reuters) - A proposal to ban minors from carrying some guns on public property without a 21-year-old present failed to advance this week, as Republican lawmakers decided not to include the proposed amendment in a broader crime bill.

The proposal had been recommended by a bipartisan working group in the legislature, but was removed last week amid opposition from Republicans in the state House of Representatives, who said people who do not intend to commit crimes should not be penalized for carrying guns.

Supporters were disappointed Wednesday when an amendment aimed at restoring the language failed in the state House of Representatives on a vote of 104 opposed and 39 in favor.

“We are telling you, as the representatives and as people who represent some of these dangerous communities and these dangerous areas, this is an important piece,” Rep. LaKeySha Bosley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when the language was removed Feb. 2.

The back-and-forth over the crime bill is the latest in a series of controversies over gun control in conservative Missouri. Last year the legislature passed a state law banning enforcement of federal gun laws that officials believe violate the U.S. Constitution's protection of a citizen's right to bear arms.

A state law, for example, allows people of any age to openly carry weapons in many locations, even though federal law prohibits ownership of handguns by minors.

The amendment's author, Representative Donna Baringer, a Democrat from St. Louis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on Thursday. The Associated Press reported that she said she made the proposal to stop "14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s."

The broader crime bill passed the House of Representatives and will now be considered by the state senate.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by David Gregorio)