Missouri State Representative Stacey Newman has just filed a creative proposal to tackle the issue of rampant gun violence and draw attention to draconian laws limiting the access to abortion in the state: Treat guns like abortions.
As St. Louis Magazine notes, St. Louis and Kansas City each rank in the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of gun violence, and the state has some of the most stringent anti-abortion laws in the country. And as last week's attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado demonstrated, guns have prominently figured into America's long history of violence against abortion providers and seekers.
“Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” Newman said in a statement.
The bill would require prospective gun buyers to jump through the same hurdlers anti-choice lawmakers in Missouri have forced women in the state seeking their constitutionally protected right to abortion to jump through. Gun buyers would be forced to travel at least 120 miles to locate a firearms dealer, which is the approximate distance that a woman must travel to get an abortion in Missouri. The bill would require that a gun buyer visit an emergency room at the nearest "urban hospital" on a weekend between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. "when gun violence victims are present," mimicking a Missouri law requiring women to meet with a physician for counseling before abortions. Gun buyers would also be forced to undergo a 72-hour waiting period, similar to the timeout forced upon abortion seekers, before being able to purchase a firearm.
Newman has attempted to draw attention to Missouri's burdensome abortion regulations in the past with a proposal to apply the same abortion restrictions to vasectomies and she is all but certain her bill will likely die in the Republican-led House. Still, Newman appears determined to make a statement. "Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP's legislative priority each year," she told St. Louis magazine, "it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence. Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives."