In Missouri it’s a misdemeanor to give a kid a gun without parental consent. This is one of those laws that sounds logical from a distance. After all, we don’t need some crazy guy handing a six-year-old an Uzi, right?
Here’s what it really means: grandpa takes his grandson hunting…and it’s a misdemeanor if he hands his grandson a rifle without parental consent. Just like in the Evergreen State, laws that appear harmless on the surface can be fraught with issues.
Pro-gun rights Republican lawmakers in Missouri have decided to do something about it by pushing to have the existing law overturned, and the anti-gun side is none too happy.
Fox News reported on the reaction from the anti-gun side:
Gov. Mike Parsons sought to increase the penalty for the crime, which is currently a misdemeanor, but the GOP-dominated state House disagreed.
Plot twist: Gov. Mike Parsons is a Republican. That’s right, boys and girls, not all Republicans are pro-Second Amendment. Parsons responded to an attempt to overturn the existing law by trying to come down even harder on people deemed to be breaking it. When he realized he wasn’t going to get his way, this is what Parsons said:
“We’re making it easier for people to let kids play with guns without the consent of parents,” he said.
Yes, we’re handing out rifles and handguns like candy to toddlers in the streets. That’s exactly how this works.
How did it end in the House? The AP reported the following:
The Missouri state House on Tuesday passed legislation to end the misdemeanor crime of giving guns to children without their parents’ permission, along with a number of other bills aimed at addressing violent crime.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson had asked lawmakers to do the opposite – increase penalties for giving guns to minors – when he called them back to the C apitol for a special summer session on crime. He said the goal was to penalize criminals who unlawfully use firearms, then pawn them off on children to avoid being caught by police.
But the Republican-led House revisited the policy over concerns that grandparents or other family members could currently be charged with a misdemeanor for taking kids shooting without permission.
Instead, the House voted to ditch that law and only make it a felony to give firearms to minors if the intent is to avoid arrest or criminal investigation.
Republican bill sponsor Rep. Nick Schroer said the policy is focused on adults who are “victimizing our youth” and will reduce crime.
Finally, a logical bill. Protect the shooting sports while increasing penalties on criminals trying to use kids to hide guns they’ve used for crimes. From here it moves on to the Senate so we’ll see what happens there.
As the law currently stands there are myriad potential problems. For example, what if there’s a divorced father who wants to take his kids shooting? Does he have to get permission from what may be a high-conflict ex-wife?
It’s easy to claim laws are never abused, but everyone knows they are. It’s just the way things are. Any loophole or gray area can and will be blown wide open and charged right through.