In order to ban the carry of firearms, and among other claims, the St. Louis Zoo has claimed it’s an educational institution, a day care facility, an amusement park, and a business.
The St. Louis Zoo is not alone in this chameleon-like behavior: for instance, zoos in Texas have made the same arguments. Recently, after being challenged, the Houston Zoo removed its “No Guns” signage. Signage at the Dallas Zoo is currently under challenge. But, despite the scare-tactics of anti-gun groups and sympathetic media members, doomsday scenarios haven’t unfolded at the Houston Zoo or zoos in other parts of the country.
The St. Louis Zoo RKBA (Right to Keep and Bear Arms) Challenge grew out of a conversation between Sam Peyton, a Springfield, Missouri resident, and Jeffry Smith, a firearms rights activist, who with the help of fellow activist Richard Lofftus of St. Louis, organized the St. Louis Open Carry/Firearm Education Walk in October 2014 after the passage of Amendment 5. (Amendment 5 modified the RKBA portion of the Missouri Constitution, Article 1, Section 23, and made it, at least on paper, the strongest RKBA statement of any state constitution)
Jeffry Smith contacted the Zoo and asked what (legal) authority they had to post signage. Nearly a week passed, yet the Zoo offered no legal cites. Because he felt Missouri law was on his side, Smith then put the Zoo, the authorities, and the media on notice of his intention (along with at least one other individual) to carry a **handgun** openly and/or concealed into the Zoo during the period of June 13 – June 20, 2015. This event, publicized on Facebook and elsewhere, was labeled the “St. Louis Zoo – Firearm Rights Challenge”.
After giving notice, Smith continued to ask the Zoo for the legal underpinnings of their signage, citing both Missouri law and Missouri court cases to support his belief that firearm carry – open, concealed, or both, was a legal act at the St. Louis Zoo. The Zoo failed to respond further.
After having been given notice of the date and time of the event, lawyers for the Zoo filed a Temporary Restraining Order barring Smith and “anyone acting in concert with him or who has knowledge of this order” from bringing a firearm onto the St. Louis Zoo property – including the parking lot.
This court action (the St. Louis Zoo – RKBA Legal Challenge), funded by your donations, is meant to 1) dissolve the TRO and 2) challenge the Zoo’s right to post “No Guns” or similar signage.