Judge upholds St. Louis Zoo’s gun ban
By Christen Smith
A Missouri judge upheld a gun ban at the St. Louis Zoo in a ruling issued last week.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty said the zoo qualifies as a gun-free zone under state law because it serves as both an educational facility — with a preschool and multiple children’s programs serving more than 486,000 students annually — and a gated amusement park.
“The zoo has shown that the safety, patronage and image of the zoo will be compromised if visitors are permitted to carry firearms or other weapons on zoo property, which would significantly harm the level of visitorship, as well as the mission, the public image and autonomy of the zoo as an institution,” Moriarity said in her ruling Friday.
The ruling comes after a two-year battle between the state and Cincinnati-based gun activist Jeffry Smith, who in June 2015 threatened to lead a group of armed protesters into the 90-acre facility in defiance of its signage banning guns.
“That signage, unless it’s backed up by case law or statutory law, is nothing more than the zoo’s attempt to reinforce their biases and to deceive people into not exercising their rights,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in June 2015. “This is