Missouri Lawmakers Expand Gun Rights in Schools
Missouri lawmakers expanded the potential for teachers to bring guns to schools and for residents to openly carry firearms, in a vote Thursday that capped a two-year effort by the Republican-led Legislature to expand gun rights over the objection of the Democratic governor.
The new law will allow specially trained school employees to carry concealed guns on campuses. It also allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns openly, even in cities or towns with bans against the open carrying of firearms. The age to obtain a concealed weapons permit also will drop from 21 to 19.
A more far-reaching measure that sought to nullify federal gun control laws had died in the final hours of the legislative session in May. Gov. Jay Nixon had vetoed a similar bill last year that could have subjected federal officers to state criminal charges and lawsuits for attempting to enforce federal gun control laws.
The new regulations, which this time garnered the two-thirds majority needed to override Nixon's veto, take effect in about a month.
Missouri school boards already have the power to allow employees with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on their campuses. The new law requires the state Department of Public Safety to establish training guidelines for schools wanting to designate a teacher or administrator as a "school protection officer" authorized to carry a concealed gun or self-defense spray.
"I think it's important that we train those individuals if they are going to be carrying," said state Sen. Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit, who sponsored the bill.
The vote makes Missouri the 10th state to pass legislation allowing armed school employees since 20 children and six adults died during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
States such as New York, California and Connecticut ramped up gun restrictions since the shooting, opinion echoed by Democratic members of the state Senate.
"The reality is we're making our cities les safe," said state Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City.
Conservative states, including Missouri, did the opposite.
By: Summer Ballentine, Associated Press
Guns on the Move: Police Trace Thousands of Guns under Investigation Back to Alabama
Alabama ranks third in the nation when it comes to selling guns that end up under investigation by police.
That's based on federal figures which are adjusted for each state's size.
For every 100,000 Alabama residents, police last year traced about 100 guns back to the Heart of Dixie, statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms show. Most, but not all, had been used in crimes.
Alabama is behind only Alaska and Louisiana in the number of guns per capita traced back to the state last year.
A total of991 guns from Alabama were recovered in weapons possession crimes last year; 739 were used in drug crimes; 429 were taken inconcealed carryviolations; 150 were used in burglaries; and 128 guns from Alabama were used in the commission of murder.
Another 764 guns were recovered and traced to Alabama, but were unrelated to any crime. For example, the guns could have been found on the side of the road or turned over to police as part of a gun buy back program.
ATF spokesman Michael Knight credited the high number of recovered crime guns to the state's "rich history" with firearms.
"It's favorable to own firearms in the state as a culture," Knight said. "There's many ways to legally obtain those firearms. The more ways you can legally obtain them is directly related to the ways to you can illegally obtain them."
Multiple messages left for the National Rifle Association were not returned.
Typically, Knight says it takesas little as2-3 days to trace a gun. Investigators start by identifying the serial number and calling the gun manufacturer. In turn, the gun manufacturer reports the store that sold the gun, and the investigator will go from there.
But it's not always that easy.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said that many guns get transferred several times before they turn up in a crime. On average, ittooka little more than10 years for a gunsold inAlabama to turn up in a crime last year, tracing records show.
"A lot of them are never reported stolen because a lot of people don't keep their serial numbers," Cochran said. "When you ultimately trace it down, you'll find it out that the owner said, 'yeah I have the gun and it was stolen a long time ago.'"
Knight encourages all gun owners to take photographs of their guns and write down the weapons' serial numbers in case of theft. That way a stolengun has a better chance to be returned itsowner if it is recovered.
A total of 5,535 guns were recovered and traced in Alabama last year.
These firearmsinclude 3,172 handguns; 1,089 revolvers; 616 rifles; and 30 machine guns.
In Alabama, you do not needa permit to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Additionally, there's no need to register these weapons, or get a license to carry them.
But Alabama gun owners need a permit to carry concealed weapons. Under Alabama law, pistol permit holders can have concealed weapons anywhere where guns are permitted. The samepermit is also required to take a loaded gun into a vehicle, according to the law, which wasrevisedone year ago.
A total of 3,206 of the guns were recovered in Alabama in 2013 and determined to have been initially sold in-state; 1,638 were recovered outside Alabama and determined to have been initially sold in-state.
Alaska led the nation in traced guns per capita. For every 100,000 people living in Alaska, about 118 guns were traced back to the state.
Louisiana had the second highest number of gun traced per capita. For every 100,000 residents living in Louisiana, about 114 guns were traced back to the state.
Hawaii yielded the lowest number of traced guns. Police traced about 6 guns per 100,000 residents back to sale in the Aloha State.
Alabama's mayor against illegal guns
Tuskeegee mayor Johnny Ford is a gun control advocate. He is the only Alabama mayor that joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national coalition of 1,000 mayors that supports gun control.Former New York Mayor and outspoken gun control supporter Michael Bloomberg bankrolls the group.
A tracetheguns.org report from 2009 states that Alabama was fifth in the nation when it came to exporting guns that were later used in crimes.
Ford says he supports guns for sport, hunting, and even home security. But he says Alabama "has too many guns in society."
We have enough guns in Alabama to go into the export business," Ford said. "Guns that are sold in Alabama are turning up in crime scenes in other states because it's so easy to get a gun in Alabama."
By: Casey Toner, AL.com
D.C. Gun Control Funding Restored to Congressional Spending Bill
The U.S. House this week removed a provision approved earlier this year that would have blocked funding for Washington, D.C.’s strict gun laws.
The amendment, originally passed by a voice vote in the Republican-controlled chamber in July, was proposed by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to H.R.5016, a House appropriations act that funds the District in 2015. However, Republican lawmakers introduced a ‘clean’ bill to Capitol Hill late Tuesday without the rider prohibiting funding for gun control measures.
“Yesterday’s victory was an important step in our efforts to protect the District’s right to self-government,” the District’s nonvoting Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement Wednesday, taking credit for the win in knocking off riders to the continuing resolution which not only included Massie’s funding cut for gun control measures but also one forbidding D.C. from spending money on a legal marijuana program.
Norton believes that by retaining federal funding for the district’s gun control measures including an assault weapon ban, the federally-supported city has won a two-fold victory.
“Public safety is a quintessential local concern because the public must have the confidence that those they elect will protect them from harm as they alone know it,” wrote Norton. “Second, the Massie amendment ran roughshod over the Home Rule Act, where Congress recognized the importance of local control by devolving local law-making to the District of Columbia. Rep. Massie violated his own principles concerning deference to local government.”
The Congressional fight over gun control money is not the only issue facing the District’s embattled firearms laws.
Time is still ticking for Washington D.C. on implementation of a federal lawsuit ruling on concealed carry prohibitions. In July, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on carrying guns outside the home in the case of Palmer v. DC.
This ruling, effective the day it was filed, allowed Constitutional carry in D.C. for a few days until Scullin granted a 90-day stay, set to run out Oct. 22.
By: Chris Eger, guns.com