COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri senators have two different views on the proposed bipartisan gun bill in the Senate.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) was one of ten senators who helped put this bill together while Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) on the other hand has been a vocal opponent of the bill.
Senator Hawley says he will be a solid no vote on this bill and in his opinion, this bill doesn't do anything to create harsher penalties for those who commit crimes that involve guns.
"This is a Democrat bill with a lot of Democrat priorities," said Sen. Hawley.
Senator Hawley has been constant on his message regarding the bipartisan gun bill in front of the US Senate this week.
"What we should have is a crime bill that makes kids in schools, neighborhoods, and churches safer, this bill does not do that. Now I think it does have some school security funding. Which is good, that is something, but I am not sure how it's going to be apportioned though," said Sen. Hawley.
The senator wants to see a bill that would have harsher penalties for those who commit crimes with guns. The bill does have an improved background check for those under 21 who wish to buy a gun, allows for up to ten extra days to complete a background investigation and includes funding for states to improve their mental health and criminal investigations. The bill would also close the so-called "Boyfriend loophole," in addition to funding for school safety.
But will there be a debate on amendments in the bill, Senator Hawley says no.
"The truth is there isn't going to be any debate on this bill, it is going to be rammed through, we are not going to get to vote on any amendments to it. This is not the normal process, we are going to none of that and that is by design," said Hawley.
When it comes to students in schools the senator says that one thing both parties in Missouri can agree on is making children safer.
"Democrats are also gun owners in our state and they believe in the second amendment right to bare arms. And what I think just about every parent in Missouri agrees on is that we need to do more to protect children from is criminals," said Hawley.
The bill, if it becomes law, would expand the Blunt-Stabenow Excellence in Mental Health program what was signed into law in 2014. Senator Roy Blunt's office shared his statements on the floor of the Senate which said in part...“We need to be sure that everyone who has a mental health crisis or has an ongoing mental health problem has the help that they need when they need it. The bipartisan legislation we're debating today expands access to high-quality mental health and behavioral health through what Senator Stabenow and I will point out, we believe to be a truly proven model of community-based care. The Excellence in Mental Health Program, a program that we brought to the floor in 2013, and then got passed, signed into law in 2014. At the time, Senator Stabenow mentioned that that bill marked the most significant expansion of community mental health and addiction services in decades."
ABC 17 News also reached out to the Missouri Republican Party who sent us the following statement, "The Missouri Republican Party believes every law-abiding citizen has the
right and responsibility to defend themselves, their families, and their property. The Second Amendment, as the recent Supreme Court decision states, deserves limited infringement if any. The MOGOP stands by the belief that existing gun laws need to be enforced, but not the creation of new and unnecessary gun control laws. The gun control bill now before the U.S. Senate bill places additional burden on responsible gun owners who have taken the brunt of these attacks on the Second Amendment for decades."
In addition ABC 17 News reached out the Missouri Democratic Party, the National Rifle Association, and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, and we have not received a statement from them.
Earlier on Thursday, the bill cleared the filibuster hurdle when 15 Republican senators joined Democrats by a vote of 65 - 34.