A Missouri lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require parents to notify their children’s school if they own a firearm.
The bill, introduced by Missouri Democratic State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, would make it a crime to fail to report gun ownership to a school and to store a firearm in a place where a child could possibly access it. The legislation also criminalizes failure to prevent illegal possession of a firearm by a child under the age of 18.
“This act requires a parent or guardian to notify a school district, or the governing body of a private or charter school, that he or she owns a firearm within 30 days of enrolling the child in school or becoming the owner of a firearm,” the bill reads in part. “The written notification only needs to include the names of the parent and any child attending the school and the fact that the parent owns a firearm.”
In an interview with Missouri’s KSDK Chappelle-Nadal emphasized that she believes in the Second Amendment, but that the issue is one of safety.
“I am not trying to take away the gun rights of any parents or any other citizens. I believe in the Second Amendment,” Chappelle-Nadal said.
“It encourages parents to make sure they store their guns safely in their home, it also gives the school districts the opportunity to help encourage gun safety in the community and in the household,” she added.
In December, the state senator reacted to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Conn., by saying that she would introduce legislation that would help to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
“I intend to file meaningful legislation in the Missouri Senate addressing the plague of gun violence in our schools,” Chappelle-Nadal said in a statement. “Education is among my top priorities as a legislator, but children cannot learn if they do not feel safe. I do not pretend to have the answers, but I do intend to begin asking serious questions in search of serious solutions.”
“Going forward, our solemn duty must be to ensure it does not happen again,” she added.
Failure to report a firearm to a child’s school would result in a fine of up to $100 or $1,000 if the parent is also found guilty of “negligent storage of a firearm,” in addition to any other required punishments.