Every day it seems the world, and especially the U.S., goes more nuts. Some of the craziness in America comes from Republicans who, feeling their oats after the demise of Roe v. Wade, and buttressed by a hyper-conservative Supreme Court, are passing state law after state law about guns, abortion, gender rights, and education. This legislative effort, reported by Bess Levin in Vanity Fair, is especially bonkers, for it shows that Missouri Republicans want to have children in their state open-carry weapons without adult supervision. Click to read:
In a turn of events that absolutely defies logic, the Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to reject an amendment that would have banned minors from being allowed to openly carry guns on public land without adult supervision. Which, thanks to a 2017 law, they are currently free to do. (That law, which was vetoed by then governor Jay Nixon and overridden by the Missouri House, also allows Missouri residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, safety training, or criminal-background check. As Sgt. Charles Wall, spokesman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “under current state law, there is no minimum age to lawfully possess a firearm.”) To be clear: The proposal rejected this week was not seeking to ban minors from openly carrying weapons on public land, period, but simply from doing so without an adult supervising them. But apparently even that was too much for the state’s conservatives, who quite literally believe it’s fine for actual kids to walk down the street carrying guns. The proposal was defeated by 104-39, with just a single Republican voting in favor of the ban.
Note that, contrary to many laws even in conservative states, Missouri allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, safety training, or background check. Note too that a kid of any age can openly carry a gun. A ten-year-old could walk into the candy store, without an adult around, with a Glock holstered around his waist. Finally, note that there is no specified age limit, and that the Republicans voted en masse to allow unsupervised kids to “open carry”. Finally, although the open-carry-for-kids-without-supervision isn’t yet a state law, there are at least enough votes in the House to override a governor’s veto.
The Democrats tried to stop the madness, but they were overcome by Republican stupidity. By no stretch of the imagination could one interpret the Second Amendment to mean that the Founders envisioned children running around with guns and rifles. Look again at what’s in the Constitution:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Did the Founders want children in that “well regulated militia”? Unsupervised children? One would think that the use of guns in any militia would require some kind of adult in charge.
Yes, the Democrats tried, and at least in some parts of the state, the cops backed them. From the AP:
Democratic Rep. Donna Baringer said police in her district asked for the change to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.”
“Now they have been emboldened, and they are walking around with them,” Baringer said. “Until they actually brandish them, and brandish them with intent, our police officers’ hands are handcuffed.”
And here’s how the Republicans defended allowing kids to run around with guns:
Republicans decried the effort as an unneeded infringement on gun rights.
“While it may be intuitive that a 14-year-old has no legitimate purpose, it doesn’t actually mean that they’re going to harm someone. We don’t know that yet,” said Rep. Tony Lovasco, a Republican from the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon. “Generally speaking, we don’t charge people with crimes because we think they’re going to hurt someone.”
We don’t know they’re going to harm someone? What kind of craziness is that? Its KIDS WITH GUNS! It was just last month that a six year old in Virginia shot and seriously wounded a teacher, and it was not accidental but deliberate. Everyone know that kids haven’t been socialized into adult behavior and they’re often uninhibited. Give them a gun and then say, “we don’t know that they’re going to harm someone”? Seriously? Imagine the carnage of teachers alone that would ensue!
Only one Republican even had the sense to see this obvious point (bolding is from the magazine):
Representative Lane Roberts, apparently the only Republican with any sense in the Missouri House of Representatives, had said prior to the vote: “This is about people who don’t have the life experience to make a decision about the consequences of having that gun in their possession. Why is an 8-year-old carrying a sidearm in the street?”
A great question! And one that his fellow GOP lawmakers obviously did not have any good answers for because if you’re a sane person, there is none. In a ridiculous attempt to justify that scenario, Republican state representative Bill Hardwick argued that he “just [has] a different approach for addressing public safety that doesn’t deprive people, who have done nothing to any other person, who will commit no violence, from their freedom.” As a reminder the people Hardwick is arguing must have the freedom to carry firearms on their person, are children, some of whom cannot even buy a ticket for a PG-13 movie.
Do Republicans not have kids? Of course they do, but have they learned how kids are? I got this news from Matthew Cobb, who sent me the link with his comment, “Some parts of your country are insane.” And I can’t deny it. The worst part is imagining that somebody’s going to get killed by a toddler with a handgun, and that will lead to a lawsuit that goes all the way up to the Supreme Court, and the Court would then uphold the Missouri law because, after all, it’s the Second Amendment, Jake!