A Democratic state senator representing St. Louis County says she plans to file seven bills to prevent gun violence in the 2019 Missouri legislative session, but Senate Republican leadership says not so fast.
On the heels of a re-election win, District 24 State Sen. Jill Schupp announced Tuesday these bills will reflect her commitment to public safety by preventing gun violence and implementing commonsense reforms to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who may pose a threat to themselves or others.
In a post on her Senate website, Schupp referenced the Nov. 19 armed attack on women at the Catholic Supply store on Manchester Road in Ballwin.
According to police reports, the male suspect went inside the store armed with a handgun and ordered all of the women inside to undress at gunpoint. The suspect then sexually assaulted several of them and shot one in the head who later died from her injuries.
“Gun violence is killing innocent Missourians,” Schupp said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action and these bills will take a positive step forward to prevent gun violence and save lives.”
The bills will likely have a tough road ahead in a Legislature dominated by Republicans, who in recent years have lifted conceal carry regulations and lightened state gun laws in general.
Incoming Senate pro tempore Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says although he has not seen the actual legislation, he admits he has never seen eye to eye with Schupp’s approach to gun violence.
“Guns are not the issue,” Schatz said. “It’s the individuals. Bad things are going to happen and you can’t end that by taking away guns.”
Official prefiling of bills for the 2019 legislative session begins Dec. 1 and the bills would be introduced the first day of the session, which is Jan. 9.
The seven bills Schupp plans to file will cover several areas including:
• Establish an “extreme risk order of protection” procedure through the courts to allow for removal of firearms from persons posing a “red flag” or significant risk of causing injury to themselves or others;
• Prevent loaded guns from getting in the hands of children in unsupervised situations by requiring safe storage;
• Create a 24-hour “cooling off period” before selling or transferring a firearm;
• Require background checks for all firearms transfers;
• Close the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting possession of firearms by anyone subject to an order of protection or those convicted of a domestic violence offense;
• Outlaw “bump stocks” or other devices intended to increase the rate of fire; and
• Establish a statewide task force to research and study gun violence as a community health and safety issue.
Even though the bills will be prefiled and introduced early, they will still have to make their way through the committee process where they can be held without votes for weeks, or passed on to the full chamber for passage.
If and when they make it out of the Senate, the bills will face another Republican gauntlet in the House chamber where the GOP still holds a super majority.