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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen took a big step Friday in a push for new gun laws, formally passing a bill that would prohibit the open carrying of weapons within the City of St. Louis.
Concerns about open carry came to the forefront last summer after multiple people were shown in videos walking around downtown with their guns out in plain sight. Some of these situations were also linked to juvenile crime.
As it stands, the legislation would prohibit the open carrying of firearms in the city of St. Louis except for law officers and those required to openly carry a gun as part of their official duty. The bill would not apply to those who are carrying a gun in a concealed manner and out of public view.
According to the bill, anyone 18 or older who violates this new legislation could face a $500 fine and/or jail time of up to one month. Minors who violate the ordinance could face fines of $100 or be required to perform community service.
This bill goes a step further than one that Mayor Jones signed this past summer. The newly-approved Board Bill 29 allows people to openly carry guns in the city if they have a concealed carry permit.
Jones is also pushing for legislation that would prohibit military-grade weapons on city streets and prevent the transfer or sale of guns to minors, among other measures. Recent developments have come with some political pushback from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Gov. Mike Parson.
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As for Board Bill 107, there would still be an obstacle to enforcing it, even if approved locally. It would either need approval through a Republican-heavy Missouri legislature or Missouri voters would need to pass a ballot initiative that allows local municipalities to control gun laws.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office lists three ballot initiatives (2024-114, 20224-115, 2024-117) that would authorize “the regulation by ordinance of the possession or carrying of firearms” to the City of St. Louis. One also calls for the same action in St. Louis County.
These proposed ballot initiatives would need around 172,000 signatures to make way onto a 2024 ballot.