Missouri senator wants harsher penalties in accidental hunting deaths

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 8:06 a.m. CDT; updated 9:32 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri lawmaker is pushing tougher penalties for hunters who accidentally kill someone.

Under existing law, the state Conservation Commission may suspend the hunting privileges of any hunter who causes an accidental death for up to five years. Legislation by Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey would double that to 10 years.

Dempsey, a Republican from St. Charles, says the longer suspensions are needed so that hunters understand the seriousness of killing someone, even if it is an accident.

Dempsey said a constituent asked him to seek the tougher penalty after her husband was accidentally shot and killed in 2008 while hunting turkey with a friend.


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Michael Williams March 20, 2012 | 11:04 a.m.

Missourian: When a hunter accidentally kills someone, is there no manslaughter or negligent homicide charge or somesuch?

How is this different from a death caused in a vehicle accident where negligence is involved?

(Report Comment)
Natalie Devlin March 20, 2012 | 4:37 p.m.

Hi, I'm on the community outreach team here at the Missourian. We did not have a reporter working on this story because it is from the Associated Press. However, I've made a few phone calls at the Missouri Department of Conservation to find the answer for you. I will update the thread if I hear back from them.

-Natalie Devlin

(Report Comment)
mike mentor March 20, 2012 | 4:48 p.m.

Yes, they can be charged depending on the circumstances (how much negligence was involved). This is only about licensing and not the criminal statutes...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 20, 2012 | 5:51 p.m.

Mike and Natalie: Thanks.

I was mainly responding to the article statement, "....says the longer suspensions are needed so that hunters understand the seriousness of killing someone, even if it is an accident."

It seems to me a licensing change versus a manslaughter or homicide charge does a minimal job of stressing the seriousness of the affair.

Another question to ask is.....if manslaughter or homicide IS an option, how often is it exercised? If not often, then why not?

Having said all that, I can categorically state I don't want to be in the woods with someone taking "sound" shots. Which is why I have never, and will never, hunt on public lands.

(Report Comment)

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