Missouri voters have petitions from both sides of gun debate

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The state of Missouri may be the most pro-gun state in the nation. I mean, they passed a law essentially nullifying federal gun control laws, for crying out loud. To say they support the Second Amendment would appear to be a bit of an understatement.


But the question is, do the majority of people really support it?

Gun control advocates have a long history of claiming that most people really support their preferred policies, citing polling that doesn’t really hold up when you dig deeper, but they still do it.

Well, Missouri is going to give us an interesting opportunity to see what people want. After all, there are two petitions for constitutional amendments from opposite ends of the gun debate spectrum.

Two initiative petitions filed in Missouri aim to address gun violence in the state, but would impose radically different methods of achieving that goal.

One of the petitions would codify Missouri’s “permitless carry” policy into the state’s constitution. The other would allow local governments set their own gun restrictions.

Jimmie Edwards, a former judge and former director of the St Louis Department of Public Safety filed the petition that seeks to allow local jurisdictions to pass and enforce their own gun laws.

“Gun possession, gun ownership, and the right to defend oneself with a weapon is not our focus,” Edwards said. “We can engage in permissible gun regulations without violating any of the laws of this country. The only thing that we’re asking is for an opportunity to allow urban areas like Kansas City and like the city of St. Louis to be able to regulate it.”

The other petition was filed by Paul Berry III, a gun-rights activist in the St. Louis Area. His ballot question would ask voters if the state should block any attempt to regulate firearms – except in a few cases.

It would also codify a child’s right to carry a firearm with parental permission.


Now, this is interesting because they’re just different enough that one could imagine both passing. I could see someone opposing state-level gun control but think local communities should be free to do so.

Realistically, though, that’s not happening.

Instead, we’re going to get an opportunity to see where the state of Missouri really stands on the issue of guns.

For example, if the voters side with overturning preemption, it may suggest that there’s a lot more support for gun control in the state than we previously thought.

On the other hand, if Berry’s petition goes through, then we know that the people of Missouri really do support the right to keep and bear arms.

Then again, it could be that neither passes, which would be interesting as well. It’ll likely illustrate that people support gun rights and preemption, but would rather not codify it into the state constitution, which is a bit more difficult to change.

All in all, this is likely to be a very interesting battle as things proceed, and one that may illuminate a lot about the gun debate, for better or worse.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member