Missouri lawmakers discuss ammunition sales bill stemming from FOX 4 investigation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri bill stemming from a FOX 4 investigation into ammunition sales has taken the next step toward possibly becoming law.

In November 2015, FOX 4 did an investigation to find out how easy it was for a minor to purchase ammunition. That investigation lead to the creation of House Bill 1342, which would prohibit the sale of ammunition to people under the age of 18 in the state of Missouri.

Federal law already prohibits ammunition sales to minors, but the state has no laws in regard to ammunition on the books.

In FOX 4’s investigation, we sent a 16-year-old into five stores to see if he could buy ammunition. In three of the five stores he entered, he had no problem buying it.

“I found ammo, I picked it up, and I bought it,” the undercover teen said.

He bought .223-caliber rifle, 12-gauge shotgun shells and ammunition for .45-caliber and 9-mm guns.

Federal law prohibits the sale of ammunition to anyone under the age of 18, and certain ammunition can’t be sold to anyone under the age of 21. But in Missouri, there’s no law that specifies the legal age to buy ammunition.

FOX 4 brought the investigation to Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman’s attention.

“Through your investigation, we learned that federally licensed dealers are selling ammunition to minors, and I don’t know one person who would agree that that’s OK,” Newman said.

Shortly after seeing the investigation, Newman introduced legislation to change Missouri law, adding a specification regarding the sale of ammunition to minors.

“This is the first year in three years that I’ve received a hearing,” Newman said. “I’m thrilled the chair is giving us an opportunity to talk about it.”

The committee took some issue with a few things in H.B. 1342 -- mainly regarding hunting and the language of the bill, which would prohibit a parent from giving their child bullets for the purpose of target practice or hunting, for example.

Newman asked FOX 4's Abby Eden to testify Monday about what the investigation found.

“I’m not a bill writer. I’m also not a lawmaker, so I will leave all of those decisions up to you all," Eden said. "Mainly I’m telling you what we found, which is that a 16-year-old easily could walk into a store and buy ammunition that he legally under federal law would not be able to buy.”

By some time on Thursday, we'll know whether the bill will make it to the next round in the Missouri House.

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