Yesterday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, city leaders and police chiefs proposed a plan to fight gun violence that includes keeping firearms away from domestic abusers. Missouri currently has some of the most lenient domestic violence laws in the country – making it easy for those who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and those subject to active domestic violence restraining orders to purchase firearms.
According to the Associated Press, Gov. Parson said, “I’m optimistic we’ll get it done,” and said that ensuring domestic abusers don’t have access to guns is “commonsense” and “doable.” The press conference was also covered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Last year, hundreds of volunteers with Moms Demand Action took to the Missouri statehouse urging lawmakers to pass legislation prohibiting firearm possession by domestic abusers. And for two consecutive years, lawmakers have introduced legislation to do so. To date, these efforts have been unsuccessful.
“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should be considering ways to improve public safety in our state and keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories,” said Kristin Bowen, a volunteer with Missouri Moms Demand Action. “We stand ready to work with Missouri leaders, including the Governor, mayors, and law enforcement to help the Governor make his case to the legislature and pass common sense legislation to protect our communities. Lawmakers in Jefferson City would also do well to look across the border to Kansas, where lawmakers have worked across the aisle to make the state safer by passing legislation to close loopholes and keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.”
Currently, when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, Missouri has some of the worst laws in the country. Among female victims of intimate partner homicide in the state, 67% are killed with a gun.
Missouri state lawmakers need only look to the neighboring state of Kansas to see successful gun laws that can protect victims of domestic abuse. Last April, Kansas enacted a law prohibiting convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns. The law also prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from having firearms. And it’s not just Kansas ― according to the Gun Law Navigator, a website that lets users compare laws between states:
- Most states prohibit people who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from having firearms.
- Most states prohibit people subject to active domestic violence restraining orders from having firearms.
Missouri has neither of these laws, and both loopholes are among several that lawmakers should turn their attention to.