COLUMBIA — A Missouri state senator has introduced a bill that would require parents who own firearms to notify their children’s school district, or face a fine of up to $100.
Senate Bill 124, proposed by Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, would crack down on parents whose children illegally possess or use their firearms. Parents who negligently store the firearm could also face a $1,000 fine.
If the bill became law, negligently storing a firearm or failing to keep a firearm out of a child's possession would be classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors can carry a penalty of up to one year in prison.
If the child injured another person using a parent's firearm, the parent would be charged with a Class D felony, which carries a penalty of up to four years in prison.
“Parents need to be involved,” the congresswoman said Wednesday in a press conference at the Missouri Capitol. “As we deal with the issues of the urban core … one of the things you need to know is that many of these situations arise because parents are not storing their guns. Period. My bill addresses that.”
Chappelle-Nadal said gun violence in her senate district prompted the bill. In the past eight months, there have been 12 incidents of gun violence among children in the 14th District, she said.
She stressed that she wants greater safety in schools and greater community involvement in gun safety.
“There are parents who know their children possess guns … and it's time to say to those parents, 'We are not accepting it anymore,'” Chappelle-Nadal said. “Every single child’s life is valuable.”
State Senator Brian Nieves, R-Washington, told St. Louis Public Radio that the bill is alarming.
"I can tell you (that) this bill will not become law," Nieves told the NPR-affiliate.
Chappelle-Nadal’sbill comes as other state legislators try to address gun violence.
State representative Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, introduced legislation earlier this month that would require all sales or transfers of firearms to be processed through a licensed dealer.