A new bill in Missouri, House Bill 1397, seeks to apply the same restrictions the state’s legislature has placed upon women seeking to get an abortion on anyone seeking to purchase a gun. The state of Missouri has some of the strictest requirements on abortion in the United States, including a 72-hour waiting period as well as mandatory counselling directed by the state itself.
The new bill has been put forth and has been pre-filed for the 2016 session by State Representative Stacey Newman.
Newman is, admittedly, something of an anomaly within the ultra-Conservative Missouri state legislature, and is often subjected to “jeers, sneers, and outright insults” by her Republican colleagues. And, knowing this, HB 1397 is doomed for failure — but Newman never expected it to be a success.
Instead, Newman wants to make a point. If, as Newman says, Missouri cares about “all life,” then Missouri must act in accordance — and that means passing gun laws similar to the laws regarding abortion.
“If we truly insist that Missouri cares about ‘all life’, then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence. Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abuser and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence. Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives.”
And, as Missouri’s strict abortion laws seem to reflect a concern for “all life,” then gun laws should follow similar restrictions, Newman believes.
The following are the guidelines those who seek to purchase guns would have to follow if HR 1397 were to pass.
- Meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership at least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun and obtain a written notice approval.
- Buy the gun from a licensed gun dealer located at least 120 miles from the purchaser’s legal residence.
- Review the medical risks associated with firearms, including photographs of fatal firearm injuries, and the alternatives to purchasing a firearm, including “materials about peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution,” with the gun dealer orally and in writing.
- Watch a 30-minute video about fatal firearm injuries. (This requirement mirrors House Bill 124 from last year, which would have required women to watch a video with information about abortion they’re already required to receive from doctors orally and in writing.)
- Tour an emergency trauma center at the nearest qualified urban hospital on a weekend between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when gun violence victims are present, and get written verification from a doctor.
- Meet with at least two families who have been victims of gun violence and two local faith leaders who have officiated, within the last year, a funeral for a victim of gun violence who was under the age of 18.
Along with having some of the strictest abortion regulations in place, Missouri is also home to high gun crime rates. Both St. Louis and Kansas City, major metropolitan hubs within that state, rank in the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of gun violence. Furthermore, a recent report showed that, disturbingly, toddlers shot more people in Missouri than in any other state.
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