Those under a full order of protection or convicted of a crime of domestic violence would no longer be able to have or buy guns under a proposal now in the Missouri House. Supporters say the bill would mirror Missouri law to federal law and fix a gap unintentionally created by 2016 legislation.
House Bill 473 would require a court, when issuing an order of protection, to order that the subject of that order not be able to have firearms. Law enforcement would be notified, to make sure the order is followed. Those convicted of 2nd degree stalking and 4th degree assault would also not be able to possess a firearm.
“This bill … is not about taking the 2nd Amendment rights away from you, to bear arms. It’s about protecting the women and children and even men in our state. This is an issue I believe all of us can agree on,” said bill sponsor Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles).
House Bill 473 would address an issue with Missouri state law that was exacerbated with the passage of Senate Bill 656 in 2016.
“This is something that [the House] has tried to tackle for years. In 2016 I sat in this body when a promise was made by our former speaker … to have this put back in. It was stricken out of a bill and all I want to do is put it back in,” said Hicks.
Judy Kile has testified in past years on previous versions of this language. For six years she has been the Executive Director of COPE, a shelter in Lebanon. She told the House Committee on General Laws her twin sister was murdered by her abusive husband.
She said at her sister’s funeral many people told her they wished there was something they could do. She told lawmakers, “I’m gonna put that on you all. There’s something you can do. You can get the guns away during that time that’s so volatile.”
Kile said that in her work at the shelter she has seen the patterns to domestic violence. She said for a variety of reasons, a victim often goes back to an abuser a number of times even after an order of protection or conviction has been secured.
“If I took a poll I would say that 90-percent of the people – it’s women, mostly, in our shelter – that come into our shelter have had a gun held to their head in their home, and sometimes, a gun held to their children’s head.”
The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has been pushing for passage of this change for years. Public Policy Director Jennifer Carter Dochler said even before SB 656 in 2016, Missouri had not mirrored the federal Violence Against Women Act. It gave direction to judges and law enforcement about removing guns from the hands of abusers.
What lawmakers unintentionally struck in 2016 had denied those under orders of protection or convicted of domestic assault when they applied for concealed carry permits. Under the 2016 law those permits are no longer needed.
Hicks said following the hearing he spoke to a representative of the NRA and he believes that organization will issue a letter of support for the bill.
The committee has not voted on the legislation.