Once the 2019 session begins, Missouri lawmakers will have an opportunity to refocus their attention on unfinished business: keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Most states prohibit people who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from having firearms. Most states also prohibit people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from having firearms. Missouri has neither of these laws, but according to new reporting from Columbia Missourian, lawmakers are speaking out about the need to keep guns out of the hands of abusers.
“There aren’t many things we do in public-policy-making that enjoy such strong bipartisan public support,” Rep. Tracy McCreery told the paper. “Men and women, Conservatives, Progressives, we all agree that firearms should be taken away from domestic violence perpetrators.”
Also speaking with the Missourian about their interest in keeping guns out of the hands of abusers were Rep. Chuck Basye and Rep. Donna Lichtenegger.
Lichtenegger, an outgoing Republican representative, told the paper she expected lawmakers would find wide support for passing domestic violence prevention legislation, even in areas with strong traditions of gun ownership.
“Their constituents will understand this if explained to them,” she said. “My constituents do, and I’m from a very gun-oriented area.”
In reality, Missouri is behind the times compared with the neighboring state of Kansas. Last April, Kansas Gov. Colyer signed legislation prohibiting convicted domestic abusers and people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from having firearms. The bill had received overwhelming support in both houses of the legislature, and over the summer, the Kansas City Star editorial board suggested Missouri lawmakers should take note.
As lawmakers return to the statehouse this session they will have another chance to pass common sense legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. If you’re interested in learning more about Missouri’s gun laws or how to better protect victims of domestic abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out.