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As We Mark One Year Since the Mass Shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Missouri Lawmakers Continue to Endanger Missourian by Advocating for Dangerous Gun Bills

October 23, 2023

This Past Friday U.S. Supreme Court Declined to Intervene in Lower Court’s Ruling Determining Missouri’s Law to Override Federal Gun Law was Unconstitutional; The Policy was Directly Responsible for the CVPA High School Shooting

ST. LOUIS — Tomorrow is the one year mark of the mass shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) High School in St. Louis. On October 24th, 2022 a former student entered the school and opened fire, shooting and killing two people and shooting and wounding four more. Despite the shooting being a direct result of Missouri’s dangerous gun laws, Missouri state lawmakers have spent the last year doubling down on their ‘guns everywhere’ agenda and continue to push for laws that would make the state less safe. 

“On the year mark of this horrific school shooting our hearts continue to shatter for the families of the victims and the entire CVPA community,” said Sharon Williams, a fellow with the Everytown Survivor Fellow and volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our kids should not have to grow up in a world where they have to use their desks as shields instead of stations where they learn. This epidemic of gun violence in schools is uniquely American, and it’s preventable. We need to implement a comprehensive set of proven solutions and focus on preventing guns from being brought into schools.”

“As we mark one year since CVPA High School and CSMB High School were devastated by a preventable shooting, I can’t help but think about the deadly consequences of lawmakers playing politics when it comes to our safety,” said Bella Mashburn, a volunteer with the St. Louis chapter Students Demand Action. Mashburn is a student at Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience High School, which shares a building with CVPA. “Missouri’s unconstitutional federal override law kept law enforcement from being able to prevent this shooting. Yet despite being ruled unconstitutional, the state continues to appeal this dangerous bill, and work overtime to weaken St. Louis and law enforcement’s ability to keep us safe. Our generation continues to bear the brunt of gun violence and we will not back down in calling out those who care more about the gun lobby stuffing their pockets than our safety.” 

The shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School was a direct result of Missouri’s gun policy failures and could have been prevented if common sense gun safety measures were in place. Prior to the shooting, the shooter’s family asked law enforcement to remove the firearms from the home that were ultimately used in the shooting. But because Missouri does not have an Extreme Risk law, law enforcement was unable to act and less than two weeks later, the shooter shot and killed two people and multiple others were wounded. Additionally because of Missouri’s dangerous policy that nullifies federal public safety laws in Missouri, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, law enforcement believed they were unable to remove firearms from the shooter. When conducting an investigation of the shooter, police learned the grounds for the removal of firearms was based on a federal prohibition not mirrored in Missouri law. Police revealed they felt powerless to act because under Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, they would be penalized for enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of a federal gun law or even for contacting federal law enforcement partners to report the commision of a federal felony. 

This policy, which undermines law enforcement’s ability to keep Missouri safe, threatening law enforcement with fines and sanctions, was ruled unconstitutional in March. Missouri lawmakers appealed the ruling determining the law is unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court just announced it has declined to intervene in the lower court ruling

Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, resulting in the seventh highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S. and despite Missouri’s policy failures resulting in lives lost, Missouri lawmakers have doubled down on their “guns everywhere” agenda. This legislative session Missouri lawmakers unsuccessfully introduced multiple pieces of legislation to expand Shoot First laws, and legislation to expand the state’s nullification law.  Lawmakers also attempted to take additional measures to strip away the few remaining gun safety protections in the state, attempting to pass House Bill 282, legislation forcing guns into places of worship and other sensitive locations like public transportations. 

Missouri has made it nearly impossible for its cities to combat gun violence. The state already controls law enforcement in Kansas City. Missouri state lawmakers attempted and luckily failed at passing similar controls of St. Louis this session. Gun safety champions Mayor Quinton Lucas in Kansas City and Mayor Tishaura Jones in St. Louis continue to push back at the state, and operate in their capacity to protect their cities. 

More information about gun violence in Missouri is available here.

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