A Missouri law that imposes penalties for handing a firearm to a child without the parents’ permission may sound like a no-brainer. Especially when you know that the practice such a law is trying to halt is something criminals do in order to escape steeper penalties. You see, rather than just dump a gun, they’ll hand it to a child knowing full well that the child won’t be penalized like an adult.
A bill seeking to end that recently advanced in the state legislature, though.
A bill to reverse a Missouri state law that prohibits people from giving children firearms without their parents’ permission advanced Monday.
Gov. Mike Parsons sought to increase the penalty for the crime, which is currently a misdemeanor, but the GOP-dominated state House disagreed. Parsons, also a Republican, had asked lawmakers to increase the penalty to a felony offense during a special session last month to address gun violence.
The intent, he said, was to crack down on criminals who commit gun crimes and then hand the weapons over to minors to avoid being caught. Republicans voiced concerns about the bill, saying anyone who gives a minor a firearm in good faith, such as a grandparent who takes a child hunting without parent permission, could be charged with a crime.
Has Missouri lost its mind?
You see, part of the problem here is that the law was way too broad. It was possible for a family member to break the law by simply allowing the child to use a firearm at a backyard gun range or while hunting, none of which falls under what the law intended. Especially since in these contentious times, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a parent might call the police on that family member in a pique of outrage.
While few are in favor of allows criminals to hand their guns over to kids to try and escape prosecution for their crimes, we need to put some kind of constraints on any law so as to protect those who are doing so in an effort to educate and provide recreation to young people. I mean, it’s even possible a Boy Scout camp could be held responsible for allowing scouts to shoot at their range without realizing Mommy didn’t approve.
So yeah, the law as it stands is a real problem and it needs to go. Luckily, the legislature is working on that and gaining some steam. My hope is that they’ll push the new bill through and the law is repealed. After that, maybe they can look at how to address the issue without turning law-abiding and well-meaning adults into criminals for doing what they might honestly believe to be a good thing.
Kids cannot be kept separate from guns completely. It’s far better to allow them to be educated about them instead. Yes, even if the parent disagrees completely with the idea. The moment their child sees a firearm and responds correctly because they’d been educated on it might be the moment they change their mind.