JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – One Missouri lawmaker is pushing for legislation that would ban teenagers from purchasing semiautomatic guns and weapons in the state.
Missouri State Rep. David Smith (D-Columbia) said Friday via Twitter that he intends to file such legislation ahead of the next legislative session in Missouri.
Smith, who was elected to represent Missouri’s 45th District last year, has sponsored several bills with ties to public safety and the justice system this year. He told sister station KTVI that this would be the first time he introduced legislation in Missouri addressing gun laws.
Smith says there is a growing need to limit semiautomatic purchases among teens. Within the last month, two teenagers have been accused in mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, that resulted in 29 combined deaths.
“I wanted to make sure I would propose something that would have prevented that,” Smith said in a phone call Tuesday with KTVI. “I thought we need to get a handle on that.”
Smith serves on the Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee, likely where the legislation would first be heard. He will not be able to officially file legislation until Missouri’s next legislative session in January 2023.
Prior to then, Smith plans on talking to gun safety experts to get a stronger idea of some plans and language that could be included in the bill. He hopes to get started on a draft over the summer.
“Everyone agrees they have had enough,” said Smith. “There has to be some sort of limitations.”
Smith believes such legislation could get support from Democratic and Republic lawmakers. He has received support from Missouri State Reps. Marlence Terry (D-St. Louis) and Bridget Moore (D-St. Louis County).
However, there is some opposition to Smith’s plan for legislation. Missouri State Rep. Chuck Basye tells KMIZ that such legislation might make it “harder for a law-abiding citizen” to get a firearm. Smith says he was also surprised by some criticism of the legislation via Twitter.
Nationally, the U.S. House committee is planning to discuss legislation Thursday that could prohibit semiautomatic weapon sales to anyone under 21.
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