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Rep. Peter Merideth calls Missouri legislature’s inaction on gun control shameful

Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, speaking at a microphone on the Missouri House Floor.
Tim Bommel
Missouri House of Representatives
Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, speaks on the Missouri House floor. Merideth, whose district includes Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, filed a series of gun control bills this past session.

In the nearly one year since the deadly shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature has not passed any gun control bills.

State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, who represents the district that includes the school, said he’s disappointed and ashamed of his colleagues.

“It shocks me that this year, we couldn't even get them to agree that kids shouldn't be allowed to carry guns unsupervised on the street,” Merideth said.

The first set of bills Merideth filed for the 2023 legislative session all focused on gun control.

That package included a bill that created a red flag law, which allows, through courts, the temporary removal of a firearm from someone deemed a risk to themselves or others.

Meredith also filed legislation that raised the age to purchase a gun to 21 and created universal background checks. None of the legislation received a committee hearing.

Merideth said that he’s not sure if his bills would pass the current Missouri legislature, but that they could pass through a ballot initiative.

“I think that they're popular in our state. And I think if we could gather the signatures, they all have a path to pass. On a political level right now, I don't see a realistic way for any of these to pass,” Merideth said.

Merideth was the latest guest on Politically Speaking. Here’s what else he talked about on the show:

  • This year’s state budget, including the budget vetoes issued by Republican Gov. Mike Parson. Merideth said the last two budgets are the best he’s seen as a House member. However, he said more can be done, including further raising teacher and state worker pay.
  • A new committee established by House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, examining the earnings tax in St. Louis and Kansas City and personal property taxes. Merideth said the emphasis on taxes from Republicans is directly related to the fact that 2024 is an election year.
  • Whether or not Missouri Republicans will again try to make it harder to amend the Missouri Constitution next session. Last year, Republicans were unable to come to a consensus over what that proposed change should be.
  • Competing proposals from abortion activists that would roll back Missouri’s ban on abortion. Merideth also weighed in on the likelihood of any of the proposals getting enough signatures in time and making it onto the 2024 ballot.

Voters first elected Merideth to serve in the House in 2016. He represents the 80th District, which includes parts of south and central St. Louis. Due to term limits, the 2024 session will be Merideth’s last as a state representative.

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.