missouri GOP

Mo. GOP gun laws going against national debate

by Jordan Shapiro, SFGate  |  published on January 27, 2013

While President Barack Obama seeks greater gun controls, Missouri Republican lawmakers are looking to undo his work at the state level and instead expand run rights.

Guns have been at the forefront of the national debate after deadly mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. While Obama wants to place more restrictions on ammunition and ban assault rifles, Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature is looking to nullify federal gun control laws and allow more people to carry concealed weapons.

The resistance and skepticism on gun control is part of Missouri’s political culture and highlights how the state now is more conservative on social issues than the nation as a whole, political experts say.

“Missouri will not be too receptive toward any policies that might be viewed as significantly cracking down on individuals’ Second Amendment rights,” said Rick Althaus, a political science professor at Southeast Missouri State University.

It was not always this way. In 1999, Missouri voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons at age 21. But in 2003, Republicans — having just won control of the Legislature for the first time in decades — teamed up with some rural Democrats to enact a law allowing concealed weapons for people age 23 and older.

“Republicans had a very different philosophy about guns and gun control” than Democrats who had dominated the Legislature for the previous half-century, said David Valentine, a public affairs professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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