Armed demonstrators stroll through St. Louis

by Associated Press | Southeast Missourian  |  published on October 27, 2014

ST. LOUIS — About 40 demonstrators carrying pistols in holsters and with long guns slung from their shoulders took to the streets Saturday in St. Louis to assert their right to openly carry firearms.

Counter protesters, many coming from a meeting of Amnesty International, held up signs and debated the armed protesters during their walk from a park to the Gateway Arch. About 10 city police officers, in regular uniforms, watched at one point, but didn’t interfere or follow the group, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The demonstration, which Mayor Francis Slay called a “scene out of a bad western,” came after voters in August passed a state constitutional amendment strengthening the right to own firearms. The Missouri Legislature passed a separate law that effectively removes municipal bans on openly carrying weapons.

The combination appears to make it legal for anyone with a concealed-weapons permit to carry a weapon openly as well. The demonstration should “demonstrate the legality of it,” said Jeffry Smith, a Cincinnati accountant who organized the protest. He came armed with two holstered pistols and an Israeli Tavor long gun, with a 30-round magazine, draped across his chest.

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