St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty has issued a ruling prohibiting open and concealed carry of firearms inside the publicly funded zoo. This has the effect of making the institution’s temporary gun ban permanent.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the judge based her decision on the zoo’s claim to be both an educational institution and a “gated amusement park.”
The ruling is in response to a lawsuit brought against the zoo by Jeffry Smith, an Ohio-based gun rights activist. Smith’s lawyer, Jane Hogan, said they would be appealing the ruling, which interprets state law too broadly. “To say that it’s a school or an amusement park, then any McDonald’s that has a playground would be an amusement park because they have rides and sell food,” she explained. “The legislature has given us no guidance here. When they say ‘amusement park,’ we don’t know what they mean because they use ‘place of amusement’ in other statutes. So we have to assume they mean something different.”