St. Louis’ 28th Ward Alderwoman, Lyda Krewson, believes that gun violence is a major health crisis in the city. On Tuesday, she announced that she has filed a bill that would ban so-called assault weapons inside the city limits along with a companion bill that would require all firearms that are left in unattended vehicles to be stored in secure lock boxes permanently attached to the vehicle.
Krewson, a mayoral candidate, calls the two bills a response to the Missouri Legislature’s September vote allowing anyone 18 and over to carry a concealed gun without a permit, background check or any training. Earlier this year, demonstrators rallied on the streets in the Central West End to protest.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” Krewson said. “I think it’s time to push back against some of this. These are common sense provisions, and they’re worth fighting for.” This bill would make it illegal for the importation, selling, manufacture, transfer, or possession of an assault weapon in St. Louis. It would not apply to law enforcement or members of the military.
Residents within the city who already own a firearm that falls under the government’s definition of “assault weapon” would have to dispose of their weapons or remove them from the city limits, if the bill should pass. In the bill, an assault style weapon is loosely defined as a military style weapon. It is unclear what these lawmakers, that intend to disarm law abiding citizens, define as a military style weapon.
Those in possession of these style weapons after the law goes into effect could be sentenced to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, and seizure or forfeiture of the weapon by the city. The portion of the conjoining bill that requires all guns left in unattended vehicles to be locked in a secure container is a measure that hopes to reduce the number of weapons that are stolen from vehicles and used in violent crimes.
City police say more than 2,000 guns were seized last year that were either used in violent crimes or that were possessed illegally. The new bill would also require gun owners to report the theft or loss of a firearm to police within 48 hours of discovering the weapon was stolen or lost. Failure to do so would be punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., have all banned assault weapons. Minnesota and Virginia have passed laws regulating them.