Amendments sought to make gun stores essential businesses, expand concealed carry

Representatives on both sides of the aisle stacked gun-related amendments to a bill Monday that would expand residents’ rights to carry and sell firearms. House Bill 944 started with the limited goal of providing protections for farmers to defend their livestock from predators by allowing them to use firearms from a stationary vehicle on their own property. Rep. John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, introduced Amendment 1 to the bill, which would make firearm businesses and manufacturers essential. Wiemann said prohibiting governmental entities from restricting or reducing the operation of a firearm businesses during a state of emergency, like a pandemic, is important. A number of Democrats disagreed. Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said the original bill was uncontroversial, and if this amendment was attached to the bill, it would make the bill less bipartisan and more difficult for Democrats to digest. “It would be really nice if we could pass something clean out of here that we can all support,” Merideth said. Republicans weren’t the only ones who added amendments. Rep. Mark Sharp, D-Kansas City, introduced Amendment 3 in an attempt to establish the long-discussed “Blair’s Law,” which would allow law enforcement to arrest and punish individuals who irresponsibly fire guns. “Blair’s Law” was created following the death of an 11-year-old girl named Blair on Independence Day in 2011. Blair was struck by a stray bullet that Rep. Sharp described as a “celebratory bullet.” Sharp said it is common practice in large cities like Kansas City and St. Louis to shoot […]

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