JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — House Democrats have filed an array of legislation they know is not going to go anywhere during the current special session — but that’s not the point. They aim to show folks where they believe the focus should be and are hoping to get the conversation started.
“Our point is that we can not wait until January to have this discussion,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a press conference. “None of us believe we have a one piece solution to deal with this crisis, but the conversation has to happen.”
Democrats have called on Republican Gov. Mike Parson to expand the extraordinary session already underway — which is addressing an issue with taxation on vehicle sales — to include reducing gun violence. The ongoing special session is scheduled to be completed on Friday.
Those wishing to address the issue in a special session point to more than a dozen children who have died in Missouri due to gun violence.
So far, Parson has declined to add firearms as a special session topic.
Even so, House Democrats have filed more than a dozen bills on the issue. The measures range from mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms to increased background checks to banning the sale of an assault weapon to folks under 21.
“We understand that filing bills today isn’t going to get us anywhere. It’s up to the governor to expand the call. It’s happened before, and we filed these bills to demand that the conversation start,” said Quade.
“Even if we did not get a bill passed, we should be having the conversation,” she continued. “I am not one who thinks we should be operating under what could happen or what will happen — the fact is that Missourians are dying every single day and we need to have the discussion. We are the elected officials for the state of Missouri and it is our job to protect our citizens.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.