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State Rep. Smith prefiles bill to stop teenagers from buying semi-automatic, automatic guns


A number of bills were prefiled in the Missouri House and Senate on Thursday that were related to guns.

Legislators started prefiling legislation for the upcoming session on Dec. 1. The 102nd General Assembly will convene Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Rep. David Smith (D-Columbia) prefiled legislation Thursday that, if passed, would prohibit teenagers from purchasing semi-automatic or automatic weapons.

House Bill 208 will make it a misdemeanor for anyone younger than 20 years old to buy or lease a semi-automatic or automatic guns. It will also become a misdemeanor to sell or lease a semi-automatic or automatic guns to someone younger than 20 years old.

However, Smith may have a difficult time getting it through the Republican-controlled house, or past Gov. Mike Parson who previously said gun laws do not stop shootings.

"All the laws in the world are not gonna stop those things when they occur when they go out there and commit a crime," Parson said.

Smith cited a New York Times report in his press release that states since 2018, six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States were committed by people who were 21 years old or younger.

Smith also said in the release that mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, contributed to his decision to prefile. The shooters in Buffalo and Uvalde were 18 years old.

"People say well criminals aren't going to follow laws," Smith said. "If there's a law preventing the sale of a firearm, then they're not gonna be able to get them. So it will prevent this."

Smith is not the only lawmaker thinking about gun regulations, the topic is fresh on the minds of many lawmakers after a mass school shooting in St. Louis this October.

State Sen. Brian Williams, (D-University City) also prefiled a bill that would bring back requirements needed to obtain a permit to conceal and carry a gun, according to a press release. Missouri repealed the permit requirement during the 2016 legislative session.

Those weren't the only bills filed involving guns. Republicans Rep. Hardy Billington, of Poplar Bluff, prefiled House Bill 38, which seeks to prohibit an employer from firing an employee for having a firearm in the employee's vehicle while the vehicle is on the employer's premises.

Rep. Chris Dinkins (R-Lesterville) filed a bill to expand a program that trains teachers and administrators on how to safely carry guns at schools. This expansion would allow any school personnel to carry and open it up to more districts.

Republican Rep. Ron Copeland, of Salem, prefiled House Bill 58, which would change the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm by allowing those who have completed their sentence for a nonviolent felony to own a gun.

Rep. Emily Weber (D-Kansas City) prefiled House Bill 218, which would require a gun owner to report lost or stolen firearms. That would include a $100 fine for not reporting a stolen gun for a first offense and escalate to a $500 fine for a third offense or more.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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