Proposed legislation would make it as difficult to buy a firearm as it is to end a pregnancy in Missouri.
image via (cc) flickr user barjack
This week, Missouri Representative Stacey Newman introduced legislation that would regulate the sale of firearms according to the same rules and restrictions already in place to limit access to abortions in her state. The proposed bill (H.B. 1397), was filed on Tuesday ahead of the 2016 legislative session.
Were it to be signed into law, the bill would mandate anyone interested in purchasing a gun meet with a licensed physician at least 72 hours prior to sale, and obtain a written doctor’s note of approval. The prospective buyer would also need to research firearm risks, and tour an emergency room or trauma center “between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when gun violence victims are present.” Upon purchasing their firearm, the newly minted gun-owner would then have 72 hours in which they must spend time with two families who have been victims of gun violence, as well as two religious communal leaders who have officiated funerals for anyone under the age of 18, killed by a gun over the last year. The full text of the bill can be found here.
Missouri, whose 87th district Newman represents, is home to some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country, reportsSt. Louis magazine, including three-day waiting periods, and compulsory counseling sessions. In a statement to that publication, Newman explained that “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.”
While it’s unlikely the bill will ever pass a house vote, much less actually become law, the Representative’s maneuver does manage to highlight the contradictions in how legislators approach the two issues.
“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,” Newman added later in her statement to St. Louis magazine. “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.”
This week the Republican-lead U.S. Senate voted to defund woman’s health care provider Planned Parenthood, largely on the grounds that the organization provides abortions. They also, in the days following the shooting death of at least 14 people in San Bernardino, California, blocked a measure that would have restricted access to firearms for felons, the mentally ill, and anyone suspected of being a terrorist.