New Missouri gun laws loosen restrictions, anti-gun violence initiative faces setbacks

Eric Judson | Contributing Reporter

Following the passage of recent Missouri gun legislation, Washington University—though a private campus with an anti-firearm policy—may see setbacks to the progress made by an anti-gun violence public health initiative led by Risa Zwerling Wrighton last year.

Earlier this month, Missouri passed pro-gun legislation that loosens regulations regarding who can buy weapons and how. Previously, people looking to acquire firearms had to get a state permit and complete an educational class before being allowed to handle concealed weapons, as well as pass mandatory background checks. With this new law, background checks are not required and once firearms have been purchased they can immediately be carried and concealed.

Zwerling, a four-year adviser at Washington University and wife of Chancellor Mark Wrighton, said she believes that although proponents of the bill are sincerely motivated to protect themselves and their families—lack of education surrounding the issue poses a problem.

“I don’t think most people have the information that this is going to wind up harming them more than helping them,” Zwerling said.

With high-profile shootings in cities across the United States, however, including Ferguson, Mo., Zwerling conceded that she understands the opposing viewpoint.  

“Things have escalated to the point now where America is a scary place,” Zwerling said. “Urban centers are very scary and people feel the only way to handle it is to be able to defend themselves. And it’s escalated to a point where who’s going to be the one to say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to have a gun’ and someone’s going to come in and hurt my family and if I had a gun I could’ve saved them.”

In 2015, Zwerling came up with the year-long Gun Violence Prevention Initiative after talks with Missouri Rep. Stacey Newman. A series of speakers presented their views on topics ranging from Second Amendment issues to smart gun technology to using art to communicate the effects of gun violence does.

In May 2016, the Republican-controlled state legislature voted for the new gun laws, only to be vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon in June. He cited several problems in the bill.

“The bill would render meaningless the existing authority of sheriffs to deny concealed carry permits, allowing individuals to legally carry a concealed firearm even though they have been or would be denied a permit because their background check revealed criminal offenses,” Nixon wrote in his veto.

But, on Sept. 14, the Missouri Senate voted to override the veto by a vote of 24-6. Soon after, the bill was approved in the House 112-41. It will become law Jan. 1.

Under the new laws, sheriffs can no longer refuse to issue weapons on the grounds of previous criminal activity or domestic abuse record.  

According to law professor Gregory Magarian, many people support certain systems that the new bill has voided.

“Two things that a lot of people seem to favor across the spectrum are meaningful background checks to sort of root out domestic violence offenders and some sort of sensible permitting system or public carry,” Magarian said.

The new laws will allow more people to buy guns, including those that may have been refused in years past.

“In general, to the extent people favor limitations on gun regulation, it does seem like the biggest, most common driving factor is a feeling of personal safety, the desire for personal self-defense,” Magarian said.

What many consider to be the most controversial part of the new bill is the “stand your ground” provision. Under this, someone will not have to make an attempt to back out of a threatening situation before using deadly force.

“I think it’s a racist provision; I’m not saying it’s intentionally racist, but it’s certainly racist in effect. It sort of licenses or validates a lot of what are unfortunately retrograde social latitudes,” Magarian said. “You feel threatened, you can stand your ground…Those situations are going to break disproportionately in a way that protects white shooters of black victims, if experience is any kind, and that’s terrible.”

Although the new law allows guns on public college campuses, Magarian said he does not think the University ever will.

“I think the objective arguments are bad and I think this University administration, like most university administrations, is more sympathetic to liberal views on guns,” Magarian said. “We haven’t really seen a whole lot of private universities go to a campus carry policy.”

In Zwerling’s opinion, gun violence is not an easy issue to solve.

“It’s killing more people than most people know,” Zwerling said.

  • Colin

    What a load of BS this article was. The sheriff does not issue weapons they issue permits to conceal and carry those weapons. Anyone who wants to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearm dealer in the state of Missouri still must undergo a federal background check. Such lies and fiction in this article.

    • ramrodd

      The TRUTH about the “supremacy clause” – our Constitution does not delegate
      to the national government authority to restrict our arms, ammunition, regulate
      firearms dealers, do background checks, etc. The national government may not
      lawfully circumvent this restriction by means of a treaty wherein the signatory
      governments agree to disarm their Citizens or Subjects. ….

  • Dean Weingarten

    The author has been indoctrinated to ignore facts that are inconvenient. Stand your ground laws benefit black people more than white, simply because more black people are proportionately victims of crime. It is mostly black on black crime that is affected by the stand your ground law.

  • ramrodd

    Marxists and Islamists who infect our federal government plus the media prostitutes who protect them will gleefully lie, falsify, fabricate, slander, libel, deceive, delude, bribe, and treasonably betray the free citizens of the United States into becoming an unarmed population. Unarmed populations have been treated as slaves and chattel since the dawn of history.

    The Second Amendment foes lying about gun control – Firearms are our constitutionally mandated safeguard against tyranny by a powerful federal government.

    Only dictators, tyrants, despots, totalitarians, and those who want to control and ultimately to enslave you support gun control.

    No matter what any president, senator, congressman, or hard-left mainstream
    media hookers tell you concerning the statist utopian fantasy of safety and security
    through further gun control: They are lying. If their lips are moving, they are lying
    about gun control. These despots truly hate America..

    These tyrants hate freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, and private property. But the reality is that our citizens’ ownership of firearms serves as a concrete deterrent against despotism. They are demanding to hold the absolute power of life and death over you and your family. Ask the six million Jews, and the other five million murdered martyrs who perished in the Nazi death camps, how being disarmed by a powerful tyranny ended any chances of fighting back. Ask the murdered martyrs of the Warsaw Ghetto about gun control.

    Their single agenda is to control you after you are disarmed. When the people who want to control you hold the absolute power of life and death over your family, you have been enslaved.
    Will we stand our ground, maintaining our constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights, fighting those who would enslave us?

    American Thinker

  • jarhead1982

    No the new law does not over rule USC 18 Sec 922, you know, federal law identifying the 10 categories of bad guys banned from having a gun.

    Hence any claim that the no permit system gives govt permission for felons to carry is a blatant lie

    Next proven lie is SYG favors whites

    The Tampa Bay Tribune has done an excellent job of documenting said SYG incidents in Florida and GASP the majority of incidents reported are GASP minorities defending themselves

    Now prove this isn’t true everywhere or be labeled a liar

    Next lie

    Background checks stop criminals from getting guns

    English language delay does not = stopped

    Not one single psychology study of humans identifies the trait of completely giving up when delayed once

    No proper govt cite or study proves those delayed don’t then get a gun via unlicensed sources

    $330 mil a year for background checks

    22 mil background checks

    130,000 avg rejections

    93.8% rejections are false positives meaning they weren’t bad guys

    8,060 avg actual bad guys rejected

    45 avg bad guys actually prosecuted

    0 = number of domestic violence abusers stopped from getting a gu

    0 = number of straw buyers caught at point of sale

    0= number of fake ID buyers stopped at point of sale

    GAO general accounting office )US congress) study sent agents to five states using off the shelf fake ID software bought guns 100% of the time

    Dozen studies replicated this same result

    UBC doesn’t fix this failure of the BATF

    Private sales to known felons is illegal

    How are private law abiding sellers to know if someone is using a fake ID or straw buyer when the BATF is too incompetent to catch anyone at the point of sale? Oh they can’t …

    UBC fails as well


    445,000 background checks

    26,000 UBC

    208 rejected

    93.8% false positives

    13 actual bad guys rejected

    0 = # of bad guys prosecuted

    0= # of injuries prevented

    Reality is background checks are nothing but a Ponzi scheme and lie

    We can continue demonstrating the idiocy of gun control as unfortunately for the town criers and village idiots wailing blood will run in the streets 308 times before when our rights were reinstated and it didn’t happen, hence the whiners are proven liars.

    Not to mention everything listed above is govt data based….and can be proven, unlike the patented anti gun nutter lies.

  • Frank Clarke

    BGCs no longer required? Nonsense! That is a –FEDERAL– requirement, entirely unaffected by state law. If you can’t pass the –FEDERAL– BGC, you have to steal your gun like every other criminal.

    But let’s go deeper, shall we? It is impossible to prevent crime absent a thoroughgoing police state wherein everything that is not mandatory is forbidden. We cannot afford enough police to have one already at the scene of a crime when that crime is about to happen and who is ready to prevent the crime. Utopia has never been an option. What’s left is for us to hope that there will be someone good nearby when something bad happens. Let’s be blunt: evil people will do evil things, crazy people will do crazy things, stupid people will do stupid things. Any solution to this problem cannot — CANNOT — involve making it impossible for good people to do good things. Alas, that is where each sheep-bleat like this one points us.

    It comes down to this: if we make it easy for people to go armed do you think the majority of those who choose to go armed will be good people? Or do you think the majority of those who choose to go armed will be bad people?

    I, myself, believe the vast majority of people are good — they’ll get training even if the law doesn’t require it. They will be pitted against a tiny minority of bad people, most of whom we can expect will be untrained.

    Let’s roll those dice. I can assure you the places that have already rolled them liked the result.

    • Jay Eimer

      Bravo. At the real point of the change in the law is that the bad people (the criminals) ARE already carrying. If they’ve already been caught (and convicted – check if your DA is doing THEIR job) then they are prohibited (by federal law) from even touching a gun. And they aren’t passing the fed BGC. Therefore they’re also obtaining their (illegal) guns through illegal methods.

      This law only puts the law abiding (Frank’s “good people”) on an even playing field.

      And the Governor’s reference to the local Sheriff’s discretion for permits to purchase? That can bite you, too. Years ago a friends father was denied one repeatedly by his local Sheriff – because he kept running against him for Sheriff. Or look at Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego. California has discretionary permits. And several lawsuits in federal court because these counties rarely approve a permit (unless your a politician or a celebrity).

      The whole point of “shall issue” (and removal of permit to purchase) is to eliminate artificial roadblocks through malfeseance by the issuing authority. Make it so if you’re qualified, you get it.

      All this does is says if the Feds say you’re a “good guy” (can pass a NICS check) you are good to go.

      Now, this doesn’t mean you’re READY to carry. With rights come responsibilities. Learn how to shoot, learn tactics and learn the laws regarding self defense. But these don’t require a TAX, which is what a lame class and a $100 fee are – a tax on the exercising a right.