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Opinion: Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights in St. Louis County

Recent legislation passed by our County Council threatens to erode our Second Amendment rights. This legislation obstructs citizens’ right to open carry by mandating the possession of a concealed carry permit, in opposition to Missouri’s Constitutional Carry laws. This move is not only problematic but also unconstitutional.

First and foremost, this legislation represents a significant overreach by our local government into the lives of our law-abiding citizens. Unlike the gun-grabbing extremists on the County Council, I recognize the vital role that our Second Amendment plays in safeguarding our individual freedoms. This legislation seeks to limit St. Louis County residents’ ability to openly carry firearms, imposing unnecessary restrictions on those who seek to defend their families by requiring them to obtain a permit.

One of my primary concerns is that this legislation only applies to unincorporated St. Louis County. This approach creates a confusing patchwork of different rules and regulations across our county, as each city within our district would be forced to pass its own, potentially differing laws regarding open carry. Such a haphazard system is not only confusing for our law-abiding citizens but also impractical for law enforcement agencies tasked with enforcing these varying regulations.

Furthermore, this legislation may also be in direct violation of Missouri state statutes, which explicitly prohibit local governments from passing laws that differ from the state laws concerning firearms. Our state constitution upholds the right of our citizens to bear arms, and it is my firm belief that we should not infringe upon those rights.

As a member of the County Council, I voted against this legislation. Criminals will continue to be criminals, and only law-abiding citizens will follow this new law. This law will also further its proponents’ stated goal, which is increased gun confiscation. Additionally, state and federal law already prohibits the crimes being used as justification to pass this legislation. We need to support the enforcement and prosecution of the laws already on the books.

We must focus on effective and sensible measures that enhance public safety without infringing on our constitutional rights. This means supporting law enforcement and providing resources for mental health services. Our freedoms and our ability to defend our families should be cherished and protected, not undermined by ill-conceived legislation.