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Rep. David Tyson Smith thinks Missouri legislature will act on gun control for minors

State Rep. David Tyson Smith, D-Columbia, represents a part of Boone County in the Missouri House.
Tim Bommel
House Communications
State Rep. David Tyson Smith, D-Columbia, represents a part of Boone County in the Missouri House.

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Rep. David Tyson Smith talks about the trajectory of the 2023 legislative session — including his prognosis for how gun control measures will fare.

Smith is a Democrat who represents a portion of Columbia in the Missouri House.

Here’s what he had to say during the show:

  • Even though the GOP supermajority tends to be hostile to gun control, Smith is more optimistic than some of his colleagues that the legislature will pass measures to keep some firearms out of the hands of minors. Smith sponsored a bill barring anyone under the age of 20 from selling or purchasing semi- or fully automatic firearms.
  • He was critical of a measure that would raise the threshold needed to pass a constitutional amendment to 60%. In particular, Smith doesn’t like how a provision stating that noncitizens can’t vote in Missouri elections (which is already law) is the first bullet point in a ballot summary. He said Republicans are trying to disguise the constitutional amendment threshold change as something more palatable to voters.
  • Smith is skeptical that bills barring transgender girls from playing girls sports and prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors will pass this year. Even though Republicans have made that legislation a priority, Smith noted that previous iterations of this legislation faltered in the past.

Smith easily won a special election against a Libertarian candidate in 2020 and reelection in 2022 without opposition. He is one of four Democrats whose House districts encompass parts of Boone County — the first time that’s happened since the end of 2012.

Smith is a Columbia native who graduated from the University of Missouri. He received his law degree from Tulane University, then stayed in Louisiana for five years to work on litigation against tobacco companies. He came back to Columbia about 20 years ago and eventually started the Smith and Parnell law firm.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.