At a “town hall” on gun violence Wednesday evening, St. Louis residents got mostly canned speeches and platitudes from elected officials in attendance at Harris-Stowe University. According to KSDK-TV, many in the crowd were there hoping officials would listen to them, not the other way around.
Most of the evening consisted of prepared speeches from elected leaders and organizers only allowed ten questions from the crowd. Dozens lined up for the chance to speak.
That meant sometimes the audience didn’t wait for an open microphone to speak out.
“We are hurting bad,” said one woman in the crowd. “We had to bury five people in our family within two days.”
“Y’all ain’t doing nothing. Why does the north side look like that?” said another man, who interrupted Public Safety Director Judge Jimmy Edwards’ speech. The man also called for the firing of SLMPD Police Chief John Hayden, before being escorted out of the building.
St. Louis has long been one of America’s most violent cities, and local politicians tend to place the lion’s share of blame on Missouri gun laws. In fact, Congressman William Lacy Clay, whose district includes much of St. Louis, told the crowd on hand Wednesday evening that the answer to reducing the violence in St. Louis is to enable the city to pass its own gun control laws.
“Right now, Congress has the power to save American lives and Congress should be doing nothing less,” Clay told the crowd.
Clay is pushing for HR 3534 that would give cities like St. Louis the power to pass their own gun legislation.
He views it as a compromise with communities that don’t want to change the law.
“I don’t care what you do out there, help us with this tragedy,” Clay said.
Clay’s bill would gut firearms preemption laws around the country by requiring any state that applies for grant funding from the Department of Justice to allow cities to set their own gun control policies.
(A) any background check requirement in relation to any firearm transaction;
(B) the ability to carry a firearm in public places or in locations owned or controlled by a unit of local government;
(C) any requirement relating to the sale of ammunition, such as a limitation on the amount an individual is allowed to purchase at one time;
(D) any additional requirements relating to licensing or permitting the purchase of a firearm;
(E) any requirement that firearm owners safely store their firearms, or prevent children or any other unauthorized person from accessing their firearms;
(F) taxes on the sale of firearms and ammunition, unless the State prohibits or restricts local governments from imposing such taxes on most other consumer products;
(G) the sale, transfer, or possession of specific types of unusually dangerous firearms and accessories, such as assault weapons, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines;
(H) the discharge of firearms in public parks and other public places;
(I) zoning restrictions on gun dealers; and
(J) purchasing or obtaining a firearm on behalf of a third party.
Clay’s press release notes that his legislation is supported by all of the big gun control groups, from Everytown for Gun Safety to March for Our Lives. That’s not surprising; after all, ending firearms preemption is one of the biggest goals for the anti-gun movement at the moment.
Clay’s bill wouldn’t just gut firearms preemption laws, it would allow cities to gut the 2nd Amendment rights of residents by imposing sweeping gun bans, ammunition restrictions, zoning restrictions that would force gun dealers and ranges out of business, allow for unlimited local tax increases on the sale of firearms and ammunition, and the establishment of local gun licensing laws.