Letters to the editor: March 28, 2018

Continuing the activism after Parkland shooting

It was inspiring to read about the Jewish teens and their activism to address gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. (“Gun violence triggers student action,” March 21 edition).  It was heartening that some of the students want to advocate on this issue, focusing on measures such as improving the background check system and banning bump stocks.

Jewish teens and others in the Jewish community should know that, unfortunately, members of the Missouri Legislature are moving in the other direction, with a focus on weakening already lax gun laws in our state.  On Feb. 27, the Missouri House General Laws Committee passed HB 1936, and that bill is currently being considered by the House Rules Committee. Among other things, HB 1936 would force public colleges in Missouri to allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns on campus (a measure uniformly opposed by campus security and college administrators) and would allow civilians to carry hidden, loaded handguns in Missouri private elementary, middle and high school and childcare facilities.  Our state legislators are pushing a bill that would increase the presence of guns in educational institutions from pre-K through college. 

In addition to working for better gun safety measures, we need to stop bad bills like HB 1936.  You can reach your legislator by calling 573-217-4023. Let him/her know you don’t want more guns in sensitive places where children study, learn and play.  

Gail Wechsler, Faith Outreach Lead, St. Louis Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America 

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

Voters should send message on gun safety  

I wholeheartedly applaud your March 21 editorial, “Keeping the Pressure On.” You correctly note that one impediment to gun safety legislation is “the influence that groups such as the National Rifle Association have bought with their contributions to pliable politicians including Sen. Roy Blunt.” Unfortunately, Sen. Blunt is not the only local politician in the pocket of the NRA. Rep. Ann Wagner is another recipient of campaign contributions from this group (as well as receiving its endorsement in 2012). 

Congresswoman Wagner’s voting record establishes that the NRA’s money was well spent. She was given a rating of 93 percent by that group in 2016, while receiving a score of 0 percent from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence. In January 2017, she voted to overturn a Social Security Administration rule which would have barred persons receiving Social Security Disability benefits for mental impairments from purchasing a firearm. In December 2017 she voted in favor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow someone holding a concealed carry permit in one state (regardless of how lax that state’s laws) to carry a concealed weapon in another state (regardless of how strict that state’s laws). She has previously stated her opposition to bans on certain types of firearms (such as the assault weapons used in several recent mass shootings).

Your editorial ends with the recognition that the solution to gun violence lies at the ballot box. Voters in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District should keep this in mind when they go to the polls in November.

Greg Campbell, Creve Coeur