States reps sound off on Greitens, guns at live Statehouse Blend recording

Elizabeth Ruiz

Gun legislation and Gov. Eric Greitens dominated the discussion Thursday evening at The Buffalo Room in Westport, where about 70 people gathered for KCUR’s live recording of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast.

Representatives T.J. Berry of Kearney (R) and Jon Carpenter of Kansas City (D) talked with host Brian Ellison to answer questions and listen to concerns of citizens about safety in relation to gun laws in Missouri.

While there wasn’t much the representatives could agree on, both advocated for Greitens’ resignation. However, Berry said he would not vote for impeachment because “impeachment is for actions while in office.”

The governor’s wrongdoing has been a major talking point for the press, but the audience showed more interest another controversial topic: gun rights and safety.

Moms Demand Action member Karen Rogers asks the representatives a question about gun control.

Moms Demand Action member Karen Rogers said she attended the event because she is “very concerned about gun violence,” and wanted to familiarize herself with both representatives’ stances on gun legislation. Rogers said she is “committed to candidates who are for commonsense gun legislation.”

Berry stood firm that he had no interest in tightening up gun laws in Missouri, explaining that facts must outweigh the emotional component of the debate.

The audience snickered as Carpenter, who supports gun regulations, said citizens can now “take guns on rollercoasters with you,” in amusement parks in Missouri.

“I haven’t met many people who think that’s a great idea,” Carpenter continued. “Let’s just not make it a lot worse in Missouri.”

There was an occasional grumble of disagreement within the crowd between those calling for more regulation and those feeling restrictions infringe on their Second Amendment right, but the discourse remained cordial.

“Put guns in women’s hands,” one woman in the audience muttered as the representatives discussed how they plan to enact change on Missouri ranking 10th in the country for women being killed by men.

Missourians should look at the Switzerland model where “everyone will have a gun, and everyone will go through class and everyone will absolutely be trained,” Berry suggested.

“The first thing we need to do immediately is to unwind the portion of the bill you mentioned that we passed a couple of years ago,” Carpenter argued. “Getting rid of the permit process allowed people who have domestic violence order of protections against them to access firearms.”

A Western Missouri Shooters Alliance member carried the bill in question to a microphone and challenged Carpenter’s knowledge of the bill.

“Show me where you see that written,” this attendee demanded. “If it was, how would that nullify the federal law which prohibits all persons convicted of adult abuse to possess firearms?”

Lauren Hall described herself as a “concerned citizen” and asked the representatives if they would support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studying violence related to guns. This was one rare idea neither representative challenged.

Ellison concluded the event by asking each representative, “How do we make progress, not just here in Missouri, but in the whole country?”

Carpenter said legislation and voters are the way forward.

“I’m personally very optimistic by what I see in terms of folks being engaged on this issue,” he emphasized.

Berry agreed legislation and stressed the importance of a two-sided conversation, saying, “I respect the people who have a different opinion than me. And I’m glad we have a republic where you can access your representatives and have these conversations.”

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