JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson likes the outline of a federal gun bill taking shape in the U.S. Senate, mostly for what’s not in the package.
Parson, a Republican, said Wednesday that the plan emerging in the Senate in the wake of two other mass shootings in Texas and New York does not require the state to enact or enforce tougher crime control laws. fire arms.
Rather, as part of the tentative agreement, the plan provides grants to help states enforce or enact “red flag” laws that allow police to obtain court orders to temporarily take up arms. fire at people deemed dangerous. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws, but Missouri, which has some of the most lax gun control laws in the nation, is not one of them.
Parson said that likely wouldn’t change under his leadership if federal law gave states the option to participate.
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“The main thing I want to make sure is that they let the states make decisions for the states. I just don’t want them tying my hands on what we’re doing here in Missouri,” Parson told the Post-Dispatch after an event at the Capitol. “As long as they want to let states decide how they want to handle red flags, that’s fine with me. As long as they let us decide.
In 2020, Parson emphasized his opposition to the concept, saying he did not support taking guns away from domestic abusers because it would infringe on an individual’s Second Amendment rights.
“There’s a lot we can do on top of that,” Parson said Wednesday.
The governor, who will leave office in January 2025, has long been a supporter of gun-friendly legislation. As a member of the Missouri House, for example, he co-sponsored Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” law, which allows individuals to use deadly force to defend their own home.
Parson also supports the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, which he signed into law at a Lee’s Summit gun store in 2021.
The law prevents local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun regulations. Although SAPA is being challenged in court, its existence is an example of how the Republican-controlled State House and Senate will react to any federal gun mandate.
Parson said he supports a provision in the bill that would increase spending on mental health initiatives. The sponsor of this element is US Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri who will leave office next year.
The plan would fund more community behavioral health centers, strengthen suicide prevention and violence intervention efforts, and improve access to telemental health visits.
“I think the mental health issue is a big deal,” Parson said. “No matter which side you’re on in the gun situation, we all know that mental health plays a major role in it.”
“We need to do a better job of assessing people before an incident happens,” Parson said. “We need to be able to get this information into the right hands.”
Parson also welcomed a provision for additional school safety funds that could pay for improved security at building entrances, staff training and violence prevention programs.
In 2020, Parson cut $300,000 for a school safety training program as part of a larger pandemic-related budget cut.
The money was eventually reinstated and in this year’s proposed budget the amount is $1 million.
The governor has not made a final decision on the budget, which will go into effect July 1.