A Missouri state representative has pre-filed a bill that would make it as difficult to buy a gun as it is to get an abortion. According to St. Louis Magazine, Democratic State Rep. Stacey Newman’s bill would “require anyone buying a gun to follow the restrictions required of women seeking abortions, including a 72-hour waiting period.”
Newman is a longtime advocate for common-sense gun laws, and also a pro-choice activist, which makes her a fish out of water in the predominantly right-wing-Republican Missouri legislature, where she is regularly subjected to jeers, sneers and outright insults. Still, she has courageously drafted House Bill 1397, which states that before Missourians can buy a gun, they will have to:
- Meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership at least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun and obtain a written notice approval.
- Buy the gun from a licensed gun dealer located at least 120 miles from the purchaser’s legal residence.
- Review the medical risks associated with firearms, including photographs of fatal firearm injuries, and the alternatives to purchasing a firearm, including “materials about peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution,” with the gun dealer orally and in writing.
- Watch a 30-minute video about fatal firearm injuries. (This requirement mirrors House Bill 124 from last year, which would have required women to watch a video with information about abortion they’re already required to receive from doctors orally and in writing.)
- Tour an emergency trauma center at the nearest qualified urban hospital on a weekend between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when gun violence victims are present, and get written verification from a doctor.
- Meet with at least two families who have been victims of gun violence and two local faith leaders who have officiated, within the last year, a funeral for a victim of gun violence who was under the age of 18.
In a state where Republican legislators loudly position themselves as “pro-life” and insist on ever-increasing restrictions on abortion—a constitutionally protected medical procedure—her bill calls their bluff by applying those restrictions equally to the “constitutionally protected” right to bear arms.
In a press release, Newman explained the rationale behind her proposed bill:
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. Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abusers and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence.
It’s clever. It’s in-your-face. Maybe it’s even a bit tongue in cheek. And, of course, it’s doomed to fail in the legislature. But it makes a great point, doesn’t it? What a brilliant idea.