JEFFERSON CITY -- Any parent who owns a firearm would be required to notify their child's school in writing under legislation proposed in the Missouri Senate.
The bill, introduced by University City Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, would make it a crime to fail to report gun ownership to a school, punishable by a fine of up to $100.
It would also criminalize failure to prevent a child from illegally possessing a firearm and the negligent storage of a firearm. Both would start as misdemeanors and become felonies if a child uses the gun to kill or injure another person or commits a crime with it.
"Since August of last year, there have been more than a dozen incidents involving teenagers and guns in just (my) senate district alone," Chappelle-Nadal said. "In most cases, the guns have been stolen from an unsecured place in the home and then used in robberies, car-jackings and even murder."
She said she feels like the debate over gun control has largely ignored the plague of gun violence in the urban core. That's especially true in Missouri, she said, where the legislature is dominated by rural and suburban Republicans.
"I want my rural colleagues to know that my constituents are just as important as their constituents," she said. "I don’t want to be ignored, and I certainly don’t want my district to be ignored."
This bill has nothing to do with gun control, Chappelle-Nadal said. It's about trying to force parents to be responsible gun owners.
"Responsible gun owners have nothing to fear from my legislation, and noboby... is talking about taking anyone's guns away," she said.
However, she recognizes that the chances her legislation becomes law are "probably zero," even though she is willing to drop the provision mandating reporting gun ownership to local schools.
Republican state Sen. Brian Nieves, a Washington Republican, agrees with her assessment of the bill's chances.
"This bill is dead on arrival," he said. "This bill will not become law in the state of Missouri. It’s just not going to happen.”