Gun bills pass Senate committees

Senate committees approved their first gun bills this week.

Senate Bill 74 would lower to 18 the state’s prohibition on anyone under the age of 21 from carrying a gun, but only for military service members who have completed basic training. The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, is a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of the National Rifle Association. SB 74 won unanimous passage from the Senate Public Safety Committee.

Senate Bill 93, sponsored by Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, would allow hunters to use gun silencers (which don't eliminate the sound of a shot so much as suppress it). The bill would penalize anyone who hunts with a silencer illegally — such as without a landowner's permission — with a three-year ban. Silencers are legal, but current law prohibits their use for hunting.

SB 93 passed the Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee on an 8-1 vote. Both bills now go to the Senate Rules Committee.