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 House of Representatives passed HB1481, legislation that would increase the presence of firearms in schools by allowing more school personnel to carry inside Missouri K-12 schools. The bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.
Earlier this week, the Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight voted to advance HB 2118, legislation that would put children, families, and communities at risk by expanding Missouri’s already-dangerous “Shoot First” law. HB 2118 contains identical language to SB666, referred to as the “Make Murder Legal Act” by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, which was voted down last month by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee.
“Our state has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. These bills are not the answer to our gun violence crisis— in fact, they could make it worse,” said Kate Bowles, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We need measures that would reduce gun violence, keep our kids safe, and provide families and gun violence survivors with a path towards justice. These bills should go no further.”
Arming school employees does not make children safer — instead, it increases the risk of gun violence in schools by increasing the chances that a gun will fall into the wrong hands, or that a gun will discharge unintentionally and injure a student. There have been several incidents of school staff intentionally or unintentionally discharging guns on school grounds across the country. Access to a firearm, irrespective of age, triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of death by homicide.
Shoot First laws essentially making murder legal by letting people use deadly force as the first option rather than the last, even when they can clearly and safely walk away. Moms Demand Action volunteers were joined by the State of Missouri NAACP, the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Missouri Sheriffs United, the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police, St. Louis Police Officers Association, and Missouri Police Chiefs in providing testimony against HB 2118 in a previous hearing.
Learn more about gun violence in Missouri here.