Dueling demonstrators target St. Louis Zoo as gun debate rages

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Animals, children and guns could be seen by people visiting the St. Louis Zoo Saturday.

Guns rights advocates want to challenge the Zoo’s policy against weapons.

Jeff Smith planned on openly carrying his gun inside the zoo. Smith said the policy violates state law.

“I don’t think there should be any restrictions,” Smith said.

However, a judge granted the zoo a temporary restraining order to keep Smith from bringing a gun in the zoo.

He decided to simply wear his holster in protest. However, Bryan Lewis brought a loaded 9 millimeter.

“I feel like it’s my right as a citizen,” Lewis said.

All of the demonstrators with guns remained outside of the zoo, but the few who simply wore holsters did briefly enter the zoo.

They weren’t the only demonstrators at the zoo.

The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America also showed up.

“It is extremely irresponsible for someone to come heavily armed into an area with children and frighten children this way,” Becky Morgan said.

Missouri is an open carry state, but some local restrictions are at odds with the state law.

A hearing regarding the temporary restraining order is set for June 22.

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