This is one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. The Republican-dominated Missouri legislature voted down a ban on children openly carrying weapons on public grounds without adult supervision. To this insane political party, no one is too young to carry a weapon.

The Washington Post reported:

The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives rejected a proposal Wednesday that would have banned children from being able to openly carry firearms on public land without adult supervision.

The proposal, which was part of a long debate in the chamber on how to fight crime in St. Louis, was defeated by a vote of 104-39, with just one Republican voting in support of the ban. After the amendment on the open-carry restrictions for minors was initially supported by the Republican legislator sponsoring a broader crime bill, GOP lawmakers on a committee that he leads removed the firearms provision last week.

“Every time we talked about the provision related to guns, we knew that was going to be difficult on our side of the aisle,” state Rep. Lane Roberts (R) said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
State Rep. Donna Baringer (D), who represents St. Louis and sponsored the amendment to H.B. 301, said she brought the proposal to the chamber after police in her district requested tighter regulations to stop “14-year-olds walking down the middle of the street in the city of St. Louis carrying AR-15s.”

“Now they have been emboldened, and they are walking around with them,” Baringer said. “Until they actually brandish them, and brandish them with intent, our police officers’ hands are handcuffed.”

While critics and Democrats denounced Republican lawmakers for defeating the proposal, some GOP lawmakers, such as state Rep. Tony Lovasco, defended the decision.

“Government should prohibit acts that directly cause measurable harm to others, not activities we simply suspect might escalate,” Lovasco, who represents the St. Louis suburb of O’Fallon, told The Washington Post in a statement. “Few would support banning unaccompanied kids in public places, yet one could argue such a bad policy might be effective. While it’s reasonable to be wary of minors’ carrying guns, any solution to juvenile crime needs to be crafted properly and respectful of individual rights…”

Since 2017, Missouri residents have not been required to have a permit for concealed carry, after lawmakers in the Missouri House voted to override a veto by then-Gov. Jay Nixon (D) of a broad gun-rights bill. The law does not require gun owners to take safety training or have a criminal-background check to carry concealed firearms in most public places. The move was celebrated by Republicans, but law enforcement officials warned that the law was “going to make officers a lot more apprehensive,” St. Louis Public Radio reported at the time….

The Republicans must figure that a child is a citizen, and every citizen has the right to bear arms. Even if that citizen is only six years old.

One Republican, Rep. Lane Roberts supported the bill.

“This is about people who don’t have the life experience to make a decision about the consequences of having that gun in their possession,” Roberts said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Why is an 8-year-old carrying a sidearm in the street?”

But Roberts’s sentiment was not supported by his GOP colleagues on the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, who removed the provision.

“I just have a different approach for addressing public safety that doesn’t deprive people, who have done nothing to any other person, who will commit no violence, from their freedom,” Republican state Rep. Bill Hardwick, who represents Pulaski County and Fort Leonard Wood, told the Post-Dispatch.
Critics noted how quickly the momentum shifted on the proposal.“I am old enough to remember when Missouri Republicans were pretending to care about gun violence in St. Louis. Like, 2 days ago,” Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger tweeted on Friday. “That was short-lived.”

On Wednesday, Baringer offered an amendment to try to add the provision back into the broader crime bill that was being voted on by the chamber, but it was overwhelmingly voted down.

The vote was met with blowback from Democrats and gun control advocates. Among those was Shannon Watts, founder of the gun violence prevention nonprofit Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Republicans can’t claim to be tough on crime when they’re soft on guns,” she wrote on Twitter.

State Rep. Peter Merideth (D) argued that the state cares more about drag shows than children openly carrying guns. One bill currently proposed in Missouri notes that it wants to change “the definition of a sexually oriented business to include any nightclub or bar that provides drag performances.” Another proposed bill would categorize drag performances on public property or viewed by minors as Class A misdemeanors.

You do have to wonder what legislation the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee passes. What do they do?