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Missouri Considers ‘Anti-Red Flag’ Bill to Protect Gun Rights

State lawmakers considered legislation that calls any federal order to confiscate firearms, gun accessories or ammunition a violation of a law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights.

Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday weighed legislation that would ban police officers or public agencies from enforcing federal orders to confiscate guns from people believed to be a danger to others or themselves.

The bill, called the “Anti-Red Flag Gun Seizure Act,” would state that any federal order of protection or other court order to confiscate firearms, gun accessories or ammunition from a “law-abiding” citizen is a violation of the person’s Second Amendment rights.

“We have the Second Amendment to protect the First Amendment and our right to due process,” said bill sponsor Sen. Denny Hoskins, a Warrensburg Republican running for Missouri secretary of state.

The Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee held a hearing over Hoskins’ legislation on Wednesday. The public hearing signaled that some Republicans plan to push forward on expanding the state’s loose gun laws despite recent high-profile shootings in the Kansas City area, including a mass shooting after the Chiefs victory rally that killed one person and injured more than 20 others.

Missouri Democrats and advocates of greater restrictions on firearms have for years pushed for red flag laws, which are typically defined as gun violence prevention tools that allow courts to temporarily remove firearms from people considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

Sen. Brian Williams, a St. Louis-area Democrat on the committee, on Wednesday referenced last month’s mass shooting at the Chiefs rally, which several lawmakers attended.

“I remember being in a group text with colleagues in the Senate, Republican and Democrat, concerned whether or not they were safe,” Williams said. “I will be strongly opposed to this bill.”

William Bland from Liberty testified in favor of the legislation on behalf of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, a gun rights advocacy group in the Kansas City area. Bland told the committee that he believed red flag laws to be unconstitutional and ineffective.

“If a person is believed to be a danger to themselves or others, taking away their firearms does not remove that danger,” he said.

Kristin Bowen, a volunteer for Moms Demand Action from Columbia, called on the committee to reject the legislation.

“Missouri already has some of the weakest gun laws in the country and our legislature has spent the past decade gutting our common sense public safety laws,” she said. “Missourians have been paying the price for these actions with their lives.”

Wednesday was the second time in two weeks a gun rights bill proposed by a member of the hard-right Missouri Freedom Caucus was given a relatively short hearing by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.

The other bill, filed by Sen. Jill Carter, a Granby Republican, would shield shooters in “stand your ground” cases from civil liability.

While some Republicans have pushed forward with efforts to expand access to guns, it’s unclear whether there will be energy to take up the anti-red flag law legislation this year. A similar effort failed last session.

Polling released in 2022 from Saint Louis University and British pollster YouGov found that 60 percent of Missourians support red flag laws.

©2024 The Kansas City Star. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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