During Short Legislative Session to Address Coronavirus, Missouri House Has Adopted Measures to Arm More Teachers, Punish Local Law Enforcement for Acting on Gun Violence, and Allow Guns in K-12 Schools
Teachers, Students, Law Enforcement Representatives to Speak Out Against The Dangerous Measures Expected to Pass the Missouri House and Senate
Recording of today’s press call is available HERE.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Everytown for Gun Safety, Missouri Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown’s volunteer networks, held a press call this afternoon to raise the alarm about three extreme gun measures expected to pass the Missouri House, and the dangerous implications they would have for students, teachers, law enforcement, and all Missourians.
The press call featured Chief Dan Isom, former St. Louis Police Chief and senior law enforcement adviser to Everytown for Gun Safety; Tara Hubbs Mueller, an elementary Special Education public school teacher and a volunteer leader with Missouri Moms Demand Action; Celena Schmolzi, a high school student and volunteer with David H. Hickman High School Students Demand Action; and Luke Entelis, Counsel for Everytown for Gun Safety, discussing three extreme gun amendments expected to pass the Missouri House and Senate.
“The law enforcement officers who are fighting on the frontlines of two public health crises — COVID-19 and gun violence — need our help now more than ever,” said Chief Dan Isom, former St. Louis Police Chief and senior law enforcement adviser to Everytown for Gun Safety. “Instead, our lawmakers are moving forward a dangerous nullification policy to cut them off at the knees. And they’re doing it without any input from the public or the law enforcement officers tasked with protecting our communities.”
“Lawmakers only have two and a half weeks in session to deal with a pandemic, and they are using this time to sneak in bills to put more guns in our schools,” said Tara Mueller, a Special Education public elementary school teacher and volunteer leader with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These new amendments have not had a public or even a virtual hearing where teachers, students, parents and others would be able to voice our concerns. Instead, lawmakers are moving fast to put us even more at risk. This is not the will of the people.”
“I don’t want my teachers carrying guns in my school and neither do my peers,” said Celena Schmolzi, a high school student and volunteer with David H. Hickman High School Students Demand Action. “We trust our teachers to help us learn and provide us the knowledge and information we need to succeed in school and in life. We need to feel safe with them, safe to raise our hands, ask questions, speak our minds. A teacher with a gun on their hip would change that perception.”
Last week, lawmakers returned to the statehouse for a short session to address the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of using this opportunity to address the rise in domestic violence risk since the pandemic began, the House has adopted three extreme gun amendments.
The amendments were filed and adopted onto SB 600. One amendment would force all public schools to have an armed school protection officer – who could be a teacher, administrator, or volunteer retired law enforcement officer – in every school building. The second would prohibit Missouri state and local law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of federal public safety laws. And the third amendment would allow more guns in sensitive areas like college campuses, K-12 schools, bars, daycare centers, and courthouses. SB 600 is awaiting a house floor vote, after which it will move to the Senate for a final floor vote.
In February, Missouri Moms Demand Action held its largest advocacy day ever and one of the largest in the country, with over 475 mothers and others, gun-owners and non gun-owners alike advocating for gun sense. Representing all 34 Senate districts, the advocates urged lawmakers to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers through the five bills already introduced— HB 2724, HB 2131, HB 1260, SB 563, and SB 697. Similar legislation passed in Kansas with a 153 to 6 vote— and there is no good reason Missouri’s lawmakers can’t pass a similar bill.
Over 1100 Missourians are shot and killed every year, giving Missouri the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the United States. From 2014 to 2018, 99 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Missouri. The rate of gun deaths in Missouri increased 56 percent in the last decade, compared to an 18 percent increase nationwide.