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A proposed bill in Missouri would make buying a gun as difficult as getting an abortion

Reuters/Jim Young
But do you have the doctor’s note?
  • Steve Mollman
By Steve Mollman

Weekend editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In the US state of Missouri it’s easy to buy a gun and hard to get an abortion. A new state bill filed on Dec. 1 proposes making the two equally difficult, according to the Missouri Times. (The bill should be available here but has been difficult to access online on Dec. 3.) Among its requirements that mirror the state’s restrictions on obtaining an abortion:

  • Buyers must review alternatives to purchasing a firearm (including peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution) and medical risks associated with firearms (including photographs of fatal firearm injuries) with the dealer, orally and in writing.
  • At least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun, prospective gun owners must meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership, and obtain a written notice from the doctor.
  • The gun must be purchased from a licensed gun dealer located at least 120 miles (193 kilometers) from the purchaser’s legal residence. (That’s the average distance women must travel in Missouri to obtain an abortion).
  • Buyers must watch a half-hour video about fatal firearm injuries.
  • Buyers must meet with two local faith leaders who have officiated (within the past year) a funeral for a young (under 18) gun violence victim, and with two families who have been victims of gun violence.
  • On a weekend between 10 pm and 6 am, when gun violence victims are present, buyers must tour an emergency trauma center at the nearest qualified urban hospital, and get written verification from a doctor.

Lawmaker Stacey Newman, a Democrat, proposed the bill to more or less make a point. Having served in state legislature since 2009—with a focus on preventing gun violence and defending women’s reproductive rights—she knows the bill is unlikely to get through the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. But, she said, “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.”

Missouri ranks among the top five US states in rates of gun deaths, and ranks first in the US in toddlers shooting themselves or others.

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