I’m not a big fan of open carry, and for a number of reasons, but those are my own personal choice. I respect that others disagree and I respect their right to do differently than I do.
In other words, I don’t generally care to do it, but I’ll defend others’ rights to do so.
Yet in St. Louis, the ability to do so might be coming to an end.
If all goes as planned — by no means a given in politics — a bill that would allow St. Louis city to restrict the open carrying of firearms will be heard at 2 p.m. Thursday by an aldermanic committee.
The bill, sponsored by Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-Marine Villa, could require any person who is carrying a firearm out in the open to also possess a concealed-carry permit.
Spencer’s legislation, first introduced in mid-May, has taken on a higher profile since Father’s Day, when a shooting in downtown St. Louis killed one teen and wounded 10 others.
Now, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that open carry played absolutely no role in that Father’s Day shooting.
The next thing we need to talk about is preemption.
You see, Missouri has preemption on the books. I mean, this is a state that declared federal gun control null and void, basically. Do you think they’d allow local communities to pass gun control?
So yes, preemption is a thing.
But there’s an exception, and that’s what St. Louis is basically trying to use.
In the preemption law, one exception, as even noted by Giffords, is restricting the open carry of firearms. St. Louis hadn’t done it before, surprisingly, but now they are. What’s more, there’s little that can be done to stop it from a preemption standpoint.
So what gives?
Well, Missouri wasn’t always as pro-gun as it is now. For example, it used to be a permit-to-purchase state. This exception likely stems from a time when the state was far less enlightened on Second Amendment issues than it is now.
No, St. Louis hadn’t used it before, but that’s irrelevant. They’re looking to use that exception now.
It should be noted that the other exception involves discharging a firearm inside the city, which many communities use as a matter of public safety as stray gunshots can injure or kill people.
But open carry isn’t an issue.
Bad people looking to do bad things rarely carry a firearm openly. Having a gun on the hip or slug over the shoulder isn’t something criminals are interested in doing. They don’t want the kind of attention that openly carrying a firearm will provide.
So why ban it?
The answer is simple. Lawmakers in St. Louis had something bad happen on their watch and they want to be seen doing something. It doesn’t have to actually be relevant to what transpired, either, it just has to be some act of gun control so they can say, “Look at us! We did something!”
That’s all this is about and anyone with a brain can see it.