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; two amendments to allow more guns in schools and one that would make it illegal for Missouri state and local law enforcement to try to prevent gun violence in their communities.
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.
“Our lawmakers held a short session to deal with a pandemic, and they are using this time to advance the gun lobby’s extreme agenda,” said Kristin Bowen, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Missouri has the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the country – lawmakers need to wake up and realize that more guns in more places is not working, it’s killing people.”
“While schools are closed and students gear up for the end of the school year, our lawmakers are gearing up to allow more guns in our schools,” said Celena Schmolzi, a volunteer with David H. Hickman High School Students Demand Action. “These measures will only put students more at risk for gun violence. This leaves students asking: when will our safety take priority over their agenda?”
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.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Missouri Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.