ST. LOUIS – Schools in Missouri and Illinois participated in nationwide school walkouts protesting gun violence Wednesday.
The protests marked the one month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.
Since that tragic shooting lawmakers at the federal and state levels have pushed for tighter gun regulations.
The same day students across the country took a stance on gun violence, the Illinois Senate passed three bills that would restrict firearm use.
HB 1468 would mandate a 72-hour waiting period following the purchase of an assault weapon. HB 1465 would raise the age a person can buy an assault weapon from 18 to 21. HB 1467 would ban bump stocks and trigger cranks.
However, in Missouri there has been little movement on gun control legislation.
“There’s a huge cultural division between Illinois and Missouri,” University of Missouri-St. Louis professor of political science Dr. David Robertson said.
In the Missouri House there are three similar bills that were proposed. HB 1343 would make it an offense to knowingly manufacturing or repairing or selling bump stocks.
HB 1342 would prohibit a person from selling, delivering or transferring a firearm or ammunition to a person under 18 years of age. HB 1343 would ban someone from securing a firearm if they endanger the welfare of a child.
Yet in Missouri those three bills have not even been brought up for a vote and are not on the calendar.
“Missouri is much like states that aren’t going to do very much on this like Arkansas, like Kansas, like Iowa, where there is a much stronger sentiment for gun rights and social conservative values,” said Robertson.
In Missouri the Republicans have a clear majority in the Senate. There’s a similar breakdown in the House.
But in Illinois, the Democrats hold the majority in the House and in the Senate. Yet lawmakers from both parties voted for stricter gun laws following Wednesday’s massive school walk outs. But in Missouri Robertson said those voices haven’t been heard.
“Whether you’re conservative or liberal, you’ve got to act with a lot of other people to push on government to get it to change things,” said Robertson.
The bill that would expand the waiting period to 72 hours to purchase assault rifles now heads to Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk.
The other two bills passed with amendments so they go back to the House for a vote.