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Columbia lawmaker hopeful about teen gun legislation

Columbia lawmaker hopeful about teen gun legislation

State Rep. David Tyson Smith (D-Columbia) speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 7, 2022 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Legislation that would prohibit the selling or purchasing of semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms by teenagers has been pre-filed by a Columbia state lawmaker. State Rep. David Tyson Smith (D-Columbia) tells 939 the Eagle that many of the horrific deadly shootings that have happened across the nation have been committed by teens.

“So Uvalde Texas, a teenager went in (and) purchased a semiautomatic weapon. In Buffalo, New York, a teenager goes in and purchases a weapon. In St. Louis, a teenager goes in and purchases a weapon. So I wanted to see if we can curb some of these horrific shooting incidents in not only in our state but in our country,” Tyson Smith says.

In late October, a gunman shot and killed a teacher and a student at St. Louis’ Central Visual and Performing Arts high school. Representative Tyson Smith says voters he’s hearing from in his district support his proposal, even GOP voters who supported former President Donald Trump.

Representative Tyson Smith says his two-page House Bill 208 is straightforward.

“They can possess so they can go hunting, go to the shooting range with somebody. If somebody gives them a weapon, dad gives them a gun that’s fine. But just unilaterally walking in off the street I don’t think teenagers need to be doing that,” he says.

State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch (R-Hallsville) has told 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that Tyson Smith’s bill will not go anywhere in the Missouri House, which will be controlled in January by Republicans by a 111-52 margin. But Representative Tyson Smith says remains optimistic and has had conversations with GOP colleagues about the bill, including someone who’s influential in the House.

Meantime, Tyson Smith has a new district. Unlike his previous district, that ran north-south through Columbia, the new district runs east to west, with the Business Loop being the boundary.

“They’ve run a line basically through Business Loop, and I am everything north of Business Loop. So I’m (state House District) 46th now, but it encompasses up by Blue Ridge but then you go west out by Creasy Springs then you all the way east out by Keene street in those areas out there,” says Tyson Smith.

He was first elected to the House in a special election in April 2021. He was re-elected to his second term in November.