Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-MO) 14th District. (Photo: KSDK)
A Missouri lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require parents to inform their children's school if they possess a firearm. Not only that, it would criminalize parents that "[fail] to stop the possession [of a firearm] or report it to law enforcement" for children in the house under the age of 18.
1. This act creates the offense of failing to stop illegal firearm possession. A person commits the offense if he or she is the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18, he or she knows the child possesses a firearm in violation of the law, and he or she fails to stop the possession or report it to law enforcement.
2. This act also creates the offense of negligent storage of a firearm. A parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 commits the offense by recklessly storing or leaving a firearm in a manner that is likely to result in the child accessing the firearm if the child obtains access to the firearm and unlawfully carries it to school, kills or injures another person with it, or commits a crime with it.
3. 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. [Emphasis added]
There are some additional details included in the bill, like that a weapon will not considered "recklessly stored" if it is in a secure location or locked away, and that parents need not inform the school for every firearm they purchase. They would, however, have to re-submit the notice for every new child the enroll.
Failure to inform the school would result in a $100 fine, but negligent storage could result in a $1,000 fine and "any other penalties authorized by law."
"I am not trying to take away the gun rights of any parents or any other citizens," State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who proposed the legislation, insists. "I believe in the Second Amendment."
Don Rugraff, principal of Brentwood High School, weighs in. (Photo: KSDK)
"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.
The principal of Missouri's Brentwood High School didn't openly criticize the measure, but said the information is of limited use to the school and could lead to blaming parents for guns they weren't even aware existed.
"Maybe a student obtaining a weapon without the parent even knowing about it," he said.
Meanwhile, parents are divided on the issue.
Danaelle Stidum said, according to KDSK: "I agree with it; we need to know because a lot of parents aren't governing their homes properly."
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