Close of Missouri Legislative Session Marks Defeat of Risky AmendmentsInstead of Addressing Elevated Risks of Domestic Violence
During Short Session to Address Coronavirus, Missouri House Attempted to Sneak Through Amendments to Arm More Teachers, Punish Local Law Enforcement for Acting on Gun Violence, and Allow More Guns in K-12 Schools and Daycare Centers
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Everytown for Gun Safety, Missouri Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown’s volunteer networks, released the following statement after the Missouri legislature defeated all of the amendments in the House committee substitute for SB 600, including several risky gun amendments that lawmakers attempted to sneak through during the short session to address the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nowadays, everyone is looking for a win —and this is a big one,” said Tara Mueller, a Special Education public elementary school teacher and volunteer leader with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s a disgrace that some of our lawmakers thought they could sneak through these extreme and unpopular gun measures during this pandemic. Fortunately, they didn’t get away with it. There is no place for guns in schools, and we’ll keep fighting until lawmakers give up this effort for good.”
“Students don’t want more guns in schools,” said Reed Easterling, a high school student and volunteer with the St. Louis Chapter of Students Demand Action. “We should be able to learn without the fear of a gun in the classroom. Lawmakers should have focused on proven gun violence solutions rather than pushing these sneaky and dangerous amendments.”
In April, lawmakers returned to the statehouse for a short session to address the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of using the opportunity to address the rise in domestic violence risk since the pandemic began, the House adopted three extreme gun amendments onto SB 600 that would have armed more teachers, punished local law enforcement for acting on gun violence, and allowed more guns in sensitive areas like K-12 schools, daycare centers, and bars. SB 774 and SB 523 were also amended with dangerous language that would increase the presence of firearms in K-12 schools. As the legislative session was coming to an end all of the amendments in the House committee substitute for SB 600, including several risky gun amendments, were removed.
Last week, Everytown and Moms Demand Action held a press call 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 Mueller, and Celena Schmolzi discussing three extreme gun amendments.
This session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers made over 900 calls and sent over 2,000 emails to Missouri lawmakers, including over 800 emails and over 450 calls, in addition to numerous tweets, in opposition to the risky amendments.
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 couldn’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.