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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Missouri Gun Bill Echoes Abortion Limits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - A Missouri lawmaker wants to require gun buyers to meet victims of gun violence, tour trauma centers, consult with a physician and comply with a gauntlet of restrictions similar to those faced by Missouri women who seek an abortion.

State Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Clayton, pre-filed House Bill 1397 last week, which would require anyone who buys a gun in Missouri to be subject to constraints strikingly similar to those in the state's abortion laws.

Missouri law requires women who want an abortion to submit to a 72-hour mandatory delay, confer with two physicians, sign an informed consent form, be asked to view an active ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat, if audible.

Newman says it should be as tough to buy a gun in Missouri as it is to get an abortion.

HB 1397 would require prospective gun owners to confer with a physician about the risks of gun ownership at least 72 hours before the initial request to buy a gun, and view a 30-minute video on fatal gun injuries.

The gun buyer must be informed about alternatives to buying a gun, "which shall include materials about peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolutions."

The gun buyer must obtain written consent from his or her parents.

The gun buyer must verify in writing, signed by a physician, that he or she "has toured an emergency trauma center in the nearest qualified urban hospital on a weekend between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., when gun violence victims are present."

And finally: "Within seventy-two hours of a firearm purchase, the prospective firearm purchaser shall meet with at least two families who have been victims of violence involving a firearm and two local faith leaders who have officiated, within the past year, a funeral of a victim of violence involving a firearm who was under the age of eighteen."

Newman said in a statement: "Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates."

St. Louis and Kansas City are among the top 10 cities in the country in per capita gun violence, and more toddlers shoot themselves or others in Missouri than in any other state.

Newman minced no words in an Oct. 19 Internet posting for her constituents.

"So far in 2015, 13 toddlers have shot and killed themselves, 18 more injured themselves, 10 injured others and 2 toddlers shot and killed others. Missouri leads the country with 5 toddlers this year pulling a trigger on a gun.

"Where is the outrage from the Legislature or calls for a special session or even the level of panic as we saw from the GOP last year during the Ebola scare?

"On the flip side, Missouri's Planned Parenthood witch hunt continues at full steam. The 7th interim hearing took place this past Wednesday and ended up also making national news."

Missouri law requires a background check for gun sales, but no license or permit is needed for a rifle, shotgun or handgun. A permit is required to carry a concealed weapon.

Newman filed HB 1397 one day after a federal judge temporarily blocked Missouri from revoking the license at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, after Planned Parenthood sued the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The DHSS attempted to revoke the license after the clinic's abortion provider lost her privileges with a nearby hospital. Missouri law requires that any doctor performing abortions have privileges at a hospital within a 15-minute drive of the clinic.

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic is the only facility in Missouri that provides abortions, since the Columbia clinic temporarily lacks a physician with adequate hospital privileges to perform the procedure.

Newman's 2-page bill closely tracks abortion regulations and applies them to guns, such as requiring gun buyers to travel at least 120 miles to buy a gun, and consult with a physician, who shall "evaluate the prospective firearm purchaser for such indicators and contraindicators and risk factors and determine if such firearm purchase would increase such purchaser's risk of experiencing an adverse physical, emotional, or other health reaction."

The CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri praised Newman for submitting the bill.

"The bill starts a dialogue about misplaced government attention," said Laura McQuade. "We commend Rep. Newman for trying to publicly have a conversation about the ridiculous dichotomy between what it takes to access a safe and legal medical procedure in Missouri and what it takes to access unsafe, violent weapons.

"It's important to note that there's such a difference there in the way things are handled by the Legislature."

Newman used her Oct. 19 posting to encourage Missourians to get out the vote.

"For all of you who stayed home on 2014 primary and general election days - this is the Legislature you elected by default," she wrote.

The General Assembly could discuss the bill when it convenes in January.

Newman has represented Missouri House District 87, in suburban St. Louis County, since 2009.

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