Missouri Chapter Corrects Children-Firearms Story

By Alison Laurio

Missouri house of representatives

After Yahoo on February 9, 2023, reported a story with the headline “Missouri Republicans vote to allow children to carry guns,” the online platform received a lot of public attention. But according to NASW-Missouri Executive Director Cassie E. Brown, who clarified what really happened, both the headline and the story were wrong.

The story began with “Missouri’s Republican-controlled state House voted against banning children from openly carrying guns on public land without adult supervision.”

Brown said when Missouri lawmakers voted against a proposed ban on children carrying firearms in public without supervision in February, much of the nation read headlines that interpreted this as an affirmative change in law.

However, it “maintained the status quo, meaning under Missouri law there continues to be ‘no minimum age to lawfully possess a firearm,’” according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, she said.

Brown said many, many people in Missouri have guns and hunt, and the NASW Missouri Chapter supports better gun policies to protect children.

“In 2021, 151 children and teens in Missouri died as a result of guns,” she said. “Our state's rate of gun deaths for minors is 9.8 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 5.8 per 100,000, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.”

“We are excited by the passage of Blair’s Law this year, which states a person commits the offense of unlawful discharge of a firearm if they fire a gun with criminal negligence within municipal limits.”

The bill is named after an 11-year-old who was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire, Brown said. “We sincerely hope the governor signs this provision into law, because it’s a good first step.”

cover of August / September 2023 issue

Social Work Advocates Flipbook

NASW members, sign in to read the August / September 2023 issue as a flipbook