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As the 2023 Legislative Session Begins in Missouri, Lawmakers Have the Opportunity to Pass Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills

January 4, 2023

As the Missouri legislature convenes for their 2023 legislative session today, lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common sense gun safety measures. Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, resulting in the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the US. Missouri is lacking many of the foundational gun safety laws, including requiring background checks for all firearm sales, requiring a permit to carry concealed firearms in public, and an extreme risk law. Missouri does not prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses or people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from purchasing or possessing guns.

This past October, the horrific shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School was a tragic reminder of the state’s decades of policy failures. It was a wholly preventable tragedy that was enabled by Missouri’s weak gun laws. During the 2023 legislative session, our leaders must step up and do more to prevent gun violence and keep our communities safe.

This session the Missouri legislature will have the opportunity to pass some of these critical laws, including passing domestic violence prohibitions. Additionally, fatal police shootings in Missouri highlight the need for lawmakers to prioritize passing police accountability measures to address the disproportionate rate of gun violence by the police against black people in Missouri.

During the 2021-2022 legislative session, Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action volunteers advocated tirelessly for foundational gun violence prevention measures. They succeeded in blocking all gun lobby priorities in 2022 and campaigned for gun sense candidates up and down the ballot. They will continue to advocate for these measures during the 2023 session.

Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Missouri:
In an average year, 1,288 people die and 2,312 are wounded by guns in Missouri.
Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Missouri, and an average of 116 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 34% are suicides and 60% are homicides.
Communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of our country’s gun violence crisis every single day. Black people in Missouri are 16 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide.
In Missouri, 54% of gun deaths are suicide and 44% are homicides. This is compared to 59% and 39% nationwide, respectively.
Missouri has the 7th-highest societal cost of gun violence in the US at $2,875 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Missouri $17.6 billion each year, of which $455.3 million is paid by taxpayers

More information about gun violence in Missouri is available here.

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