As the Missouri legislature returns to Jefferson City for the start of the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to protect Missourians by prioritizing legislation that would protect domestic violence survivors, and reject dangerous legislation that strips away gun safety measures. Gun violence prevention is more critical than ever, as years of dismantling gun safety protections in Missouri and the pandemic have exacerbated gun violence in the state. Missouri has the 5th highest rate of gun homicides in the country.
Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of families and communities across the country. After more than a decade of Missouri lawmakers pandering to gun lobby interests by systematically dismantling the state’s gun laws, a gap remains that makes it easy for domestic abusers to access firearms. Currently, Missouri does not have any state protections that keeps guns out of the hands of abusers. This session, Missouri State Representative Ron Hicks and Senator Lauren Arthur have both introduced legislation to close this dangerous gap by allowing judges to prohibit convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms. Lawmakers should prioritize these crucial bills intended to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Last year, Governor Parson signed nullification into law despite widespread opposition from law enforcement officers and constituents. Nullification laws dangerously prohibit state and local officials from assisting with federal gun law enforcement and fines local law enforcement agencies up to $50,000 for any violations. Law enforcement officers and officials across the political spectrum have opposed and spoken out against the law. Instead of continuing to pass dangerous bills that penalize law enforcement officers for doing their jobs, lawmakers must take action to protect Missourians, and reject any bills that dismantle public safety.
This session, Moms Demand Action volunteers will continue to advocate for bills to protect communities from gun violence, and fight against legislation that threatens public safety and weakens gun violence prevention measures.
What to know about domestic violence and gun violence in Missouri:
- 109 women in Missouri were fatally shot by a partner from 2015-2019.
- Not only are 57 women in the U.S. shot and killed by intimate partners every month on average, but nearly one million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner and millions more have been threatened with a gun.
- Access to guns makes it five times more likely an abuser will kill his female victim.
- 71% of all Intimate Partner Homicide firearm victims in Missouri from 2015-2019 were women. Women are disproportionately killed in domestic violence situations that involve a firearm, and Black women are disproportionately impacted by the deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence.
What to know about nullification in Missouri:
- Governor Parson, who signed the bill into law last year, has admitted that the law needs to be revisited.
- Local officials from across the political spectrum, including traditionally conservative law enforcement leaders and county prosecutors, have also spoken out against nullification, stating the law has made it much more difficult for state and local law enforcement to do their jobs.
- In a 60 minutes segment, Butler County prosecutor Kacey Proctor and General Counsel for Missouri Office of Prosecution Services Steve Sokoloff said nullification “has a tremendously chilling effect on law enforcement officers,” forcing local law enforcement to disband from federal task forces and avoid partnering with federal agencies despite their longstanding practice of sharing resources and manpower.
- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has expressed to state leaders that the U.S. Constitution clearly establishes that federal laws cannot be overridden by the nullification policy.
Statistics about gun violence in Missouri are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how Missouri’s gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.