The Missouri chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee today voted to reject SB 666, legislation that would put children, families, and communities at risk by expanding Missouri’s already-dangerous “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” law. Moms Demand Action volunteers were joined by the Missouri Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police in Missouri, the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, the President of the Missouri NAACP, the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys, Missouri Faith Voices, and several others in providing testimony against the legislation during an earlier hearing. The committee defeated SB 666 in a vote of 4-3.
“We’re grateful that our lawmakers listened to the concerns of public safety advocates, law enforcement officers, and community members and voted down this dangerous bill,” said Kristin Bowen, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our state already has some of the weakest gun laws and highest rates of gun violence in the nation. We don’t need a law that expands the right to seek out dangerous situations, shoot first, ask questions later, then claim self-defense. We’ll keep fighting against any and all attempts to weaken gun safety laws in Missouri.”
Stand Your Ground or “shoot first” laws, threaten public safety and disproportionately impact Black people and people of color. These laws upend self-defense laws, which already allow someone to use deadly force when they are in danger and have no other choice. Instead, these “shoot first” laws encourage unnecessary and avoidable violence, allowing a person to seek out a dangerous situation, shoot and kill another person in public even when they can safely walk away, and then claim self-defense. Missouri already has one of the most expansive and dangerous Stand Your Ground laws in the country. SB 666 would have made it more likely for shooters to avoid justice and would have discouraged victims and their families from seeking compensation for the harm caused.
Stand Your Ground laws are associated with increases in homicide rates resulting in more than 150 additional gun deaths each month. Justifiable homicide rates increased by 55 percent in states that enacted Stand Your Ground, while these rates increased by 20 percent in states that did not have such laws. In states with Stand Your Ground laws, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.
Learn more about Stand Your Ground policies here.