A gun control law introduced in Missouri places the responsibility for gun safety on parents who own guns. Unfortunately, many gun owners want the right to possess firearms, yet look to the government to monitor and protect children against the dangers of firearms. In response, the new gun safety bill creates new offenses for parents who fail to report a minor’s possession of a firearm.
State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal has proposed a bill SB 124 titled “Creates the crimes of failing to stop illegal firearm possession, negligent storage of a firearm, and failure to notify a school of firearm ownership.” While current media focus of this bill covers only the section requiring parents who own guns report the gun ownership to the schools, the power and intent of SB 124 is to increase the responsibility of gun owners and parents or guardians of minors who possess guns.
A summary of SB 124:
- This act makes it an offense to fail to stop illegal firearm possession. If the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 knows the child possesses a firearm in violation of the law and does not report the gun possession, the parent or guardian is considered an offender. Not reporting the possession of an illegal firearm by a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. If death or injury results from the minor’s illegal firearm possess, the offense is escalated to a Class D felony.
- This act also makes negligent storage of a firearm an offense. A parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 is culpable by recklessly storing or leaving a firearm in a manner allows the child access to the firearm and that unlawfully carries it to school, kills or injures another person with it, or commits a crime with it. To clarify this, a firearm that is in a secure location or locked is not considered to be recklessly stored or left in a manner likely to result in the child accessing the firearm. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor unless the child kills or injures another person in which case it is a Class D felony.
- The parent or guardian of a child injured or killed by a firearm may only be prosecuted for negligent storage of a firearm if gross negligence is demonstrated.
- This act requires a parent or guardian to notify a school district, or the governing body of a private or charter school that he or she owns a firearm within 30 days of enrolling the child in school or becoming the owner of a firearm. Written notification only needs to include the names of the parent and any child attending the school and the fact that the parent owns a firearm. A person only needs to send one written notification for multiple children attending the same school, and another as the person acquires additional firearms. Any time a new child is enrolled in a school the parent or guardian must send an updated notification with the new child's name.
- Failure to notify the school under this act is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $100. If a person is found guilty of negligent storage of a firearm and has failed to notify the school of firearm ownership, the person must be fined $1,000 plus any other penalties authorized by law.
To read the full bill SB124 click here