During the 2023 Legislative Session, Following Advocacy By More Demand Action And Students Demand Action Volunteers, Missouri Lawmakers Blocked Dangerous Gun Legislation, Including Bill to Force Guns into Sensitive Places, Including Places of Worship And Public Transit
Session Ends Just Weeks After the Horrific Shooting of Ralph Yarl, Which Highlighted the Culture of Extremist And Racist Gun Violence Created by Missouri Lawmakers’ ‘Guns Everywhere’ Agenda and Racist ‘Shoot First’ Laws
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after the Missouri legislature officially ended its legislative session, adjourning sine die, blocking all gun lobby priorities. Missouri Moms Demand Action volunteers testified and attended hearings against dangerous bills that would have furthered the gun lobby’s ‘guns everywhere’ agenda.
“Extremist Missouri lawmakers continue trying to make our state more dangerous by prioritizing gun lobby priorities over public safety,” said Leslie Washington, a fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network and volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “While we are relieved that the legislature rejected efforts to further weaken our gun laws this session, we are disgusted by their relentless efforts to strip away all gun safety measures, including by trying to force guns into our sacred places of worship. Missouri lawmakers must step up and prioritize the safety of our communities by passing common-sense gun safety laws. We will continue our advocacy, and double down on our call to action.”
Over the last decade Missouri lawmakers have put lives in jeopardy by systematically chipping away at any and all gun safety measures and have emboldened extremists with their ‘guns everywhere’ agenda. This session, lawmakers attempted to take additional measures to strip away the few remaining gun safety protections, bys attempting to pass House Bill 282, legislation forcing guns into places of worship and other sensitive locations like public transportation.
Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, resulting in the seventh highest rate of gun deaths in the US. The state lacks all 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.
Missouri has incredibly dangerous gun policies already in place, which lawmakers are trying to expand, including a dangerous Shoot First law, also known as Stand Your Ground. This deadly policy gives people a license to kill by allowing them to use deadly force as a first option rather than the last. These laws have been associated with an increase in homicides and instances of racist gun violence. This policy has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. In states with Shoot First laws, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.
The combination of Shoot First Laws and paranoid extremism promoted by the gun lobby have created a vigilante gun culture that encourages people to seek out dangerous situations and emboldens them to preemptively shoot others and then claim self-defense. The shooting of Ralph Yarl last month highlighted just how dangerous the reality is of the culture created by these gun lobby policies — one where paranoid adults, armed with deadly weapons, can shoot children with no warning.
And yet, during the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers attempted to double down on these policies. They introduced multiple pieces of legislation to expand Shoot First laws, and legislation to expand the state’s existing nullification law, which penalizes law enforcement who attempt to enforce federal gun safety protections. In March, a federal court struck down Missouri’s dangerous nullification bill or “Second Amendment Preservation Act” as unconstitutional.
As Missouri lawmakers continue to stoke fear and push a narrative that more guns everywhere make us safer, and as the Missouri lawmakers continue to weaken gun laws and allow more guns in more places — more violence is the logical conclusion.