Recent shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas have reignited the debate over gun control.
Democratic State Representative Crystal Quade of Springfield and Republican Jered Taylor of Nixa answered questions on the topic Monday evening. The event was hosted by the nonprofit Be Civil Be Heard at Missouri State University’s Plaster Student Union Theater.
Regarding gun-related legislation in Missouri, Quade says she does not intend to file any bill while Taylor plans next session to reintroduce HB 630, which addresses gun free zones in Missouri.
According to Taylor, the state of Missouri currently designates 17 locations as areas where you cannot carry a gun. These include churches and bars. Taylor argued while the government should be able to make that decision for public places like a university, it should not be able to force private property to be a gun free zone.
“If a private property owner, such as a church, wants to put up a sign that says, ‘No we don’t allow guns in here,’ or if they want to decide who they want (to have a gun) then I think it should be their decision,” Taylor said.
Quade mostly agreed with Taylor saying she believed in local control. Local governing bodies such as college campuses, however, should make their own decision without government interference, she says.
Both lawmakers offered opposing views on placing possible restrictions on the Second amendment. The question gave the example of First Amendment limits like not being able to yell fire in a crowded movie theater.
Quade argued any time public safety is a concern people need to be willing to have a conversation about the issue. She said at one time it was okay to yell fire in a movie theater.
“It needs to be happening around the Second Amendment and continue to happen around the First Amendment,” Quade said. “We need to be open to that conversation of weighing public safety and looking at what current laws are in place.
Taylor said he thinks current gun laws are already sufficient restrictions on the Second Amendment.
One of the last questions asked was how citizens can keep government in check without the Second Amendment. Both representatives had the same answer: vote.
“We only have 10 percent of the population voting and I think that’s a sad, unfortunate event,” Taylor said.
Quade added she recognizes that the argument for the Second Amendment is being used to hold government accountable, but getting active and voting is just as effective.
“But he’s 100 percent right. When it comes to holding us accountable you do it at the ballot box,” Quade said. “You show up to things like this and you ask questions. You show up to Jeff City and hold our feet to the fire when we say we’re going to do something and when we don’t you vote us out.”
Questions were submitted by the audience before and during the event. The debate was a civility certified event, a procedure of Be Civil Be Heard which asks all in attendance to follow the Ten Tenets of Civility.