New reports show that prior to the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School on Monday, the shooter’s family asked law enforcement to remove firearms from the home that was ultimately used in the shooting. But because Missouri does not have an extreme risk law, law enforcement were unable to act and less than two weeks later, the shooter shot and killed two people and wounded multiple others.
Extreme risk laws also known as red flag laws are critical tools to prevent gun violence that allow loved ones or law enforcement to petition a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns. Family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see warning signs when a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others. In this tragic incident in particular, even though individuals were attempting to take action, law enforcement’s hands were tied and unable to provide the necessary intervention that could have prevented this tragedy because Missouri does not have extreme risk law. Extreme risk laws are on the books in 19 states and Washington DC, and this tragedy makes it clear that more states must pass this important measure.
Research shows that gun safety laws save lives, but over the past decade, Missouri lawmakers have systematically dismantled nearly all of the state’s foundational gun safety laws, and have actively blocked any measures that would keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. And last year, a dangerous policy that attempts to nullify federal public safety laws in Missouri went into effect. Now, Missouri communities face the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the country. As lawmakers in Missouri prepare for legislative session in the new year, gun safety laws that will actually address Missoui’s gun violence crisis must be a priority.
In an average year, 1,288 people die and 2,312 people are wounded by guns in Missouri. The rate of gun deaths has increased 70% from 2011 to 2020 in Missouri, compared to a 33% increase nationwide. Learn more about gun violence in Missouri here.