This Bold Lawmaker Wants to Regulate Guns Like Abortions

December 5th 2015

Aron Macarow

Missouri State Representative Stacey Newman (D) wants to put gun sales under the same restrictions as abortions.

Newman is extremely troubled by gun violence in her state, which has seen gun-related deaths outpace motor vehicle deaths for the last three years in a row. Missouri also holds the onerous record for having more toddlers shoot people than anywhere else in the country. But under Newman's proposed bill, she wants Missouri gun buyers to have the same 72-hour waiting period as women seeking abortions, along with a host of other requirements that mirror the state's stringent abortion laws.

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Gun violence graphic for Missouri

"Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates," the state representative said in a statement to St. Louis Magazine.

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What would the bill do?

 toddlers and guns.

House Bill 1397 draws directly from the state's efforts to make Missouri what some have called an "abortion-free state." Taking language from the state's existing regulations — as well as laws that have been introduced but not yet passed — Newman's bill would make gun purchases much more challenging in response to what she sees as "the state legislature's current mission to flood our city with firearms."

Here's what would-be Missourian gun buyers would have to do before receiving a gun, compared with current and proposed state abortion laws:

  • GUNS (proposed): Meet with a licensed physician to talk about the risks of gun ownership, followed by a 72-hour or greater wait before attempting to purchase a gun. Written notice of approval must also be obtained.
  • ABORTIONS (current law): Meet with a physician or "qualified professional" - a nurse, a social worker, or a psychologists - to obtain counseling on the medical and psychological risks of abortion and then wait 72-hours before attempting to receive an abortion. Written notice must also be obtained.
  • GUNS (proposed): Review the medical risks associated with firearm ownership with a gun dealer, including alternatives to firearm purchase and photographs of fatal firearm injuries. Information must be given orally and in writing.
  • ABORTIONS (current law): Review the medical risks of an abortion, alternatives to abortion, fetal pain, and see color photos of developing fetuses while covering the "anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed or induced." Information must also be given orally and in writing.
  • GUNS (proposed): Buy a gun from a dealer who is licensed and located at least 120-miles from the purchaser's legal residence.
  • ABORTIONS (current law): Missouri laws have forced all but one clinic to stop providing abortions in the state. The proposed gun restriction draws reference from the distances that many women have to drive to receive an abortion, including going out-of-state.
  • GUNS (proposed): Watch a 30-minute video discussing firearms fatalities.
  • ABORTIONS (proposed): House Bill 124 would require women to watch a state-scripted video on abortions if enacted. It has currently been voted "do pass" by the House Committee on Children and Families.
  • GUNS (proposed): Tour an emergency room trauma center when gun violence victims are present, specifically on a weekend at a qualified urban hospital between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Additionally, meet at least two faith leader who have officiated a funeral for a gun violence victim in the last year -- and meet two families who have been victims of gun violence.
  • ABORTIONS (proposed): Suggesting that "there's no question there's holes" in the current law, Missouri House Republicans have discussed a "Vietnam-Wall type" memorial for aborted fetuses outside Planned Parenthood, among other measures to discourage women from seeking abortions.

Gun laws in Missouri right now


Current state law does not require a permit, ownership license, or registration for purchased of rifles, shotguns, or handguns. A permit is also not required to carry shotguns and rifles.

Although Newman's proposal is already receiving pushback from the legislature and will certainly not pass, the statement she's making is clear.

"If we truly insist that Missouri cares about 'all life', then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence," Newman said.

The bill was pre-filed for the 2016 legislative season this week. You can read the full text of the bill here.

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