A Missouri lawmaker is making waves with a bill that would require parents who own guns to notify their child's school.
Democratic state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal's Senate Bill 124 would make it a crime for parents to fail to report gun ownership to a school, punishable by a fine of up to $100. It also bars parents from failing to properly lock or secure firearms, and would punish parents who fail to stop their child from illegally possessing a firearm.
"It is lunacy that here are parents out there who know their children possess guns and do nothing," Chapelle-Nadal told the News-Leader.
Chappelle-Nadal said in a statement Wednesday that the move was inspired by numerous recent incidents in her district, during which teens took unsecured guns from their homes and used them in robberies, car-jackings and murder. Her proposal seeks to reduce gun violence in urban communities and schools.
"I am not trying to take away the guns rights of any parents or any other citizens. I believe in the Second Amendment," Chappelle-Nadal told KSDK. "[The bill] 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."
In light of last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, lawmakers across the country are introducing legislation ranging from stricter gun laws to adding armed guards and even arming teachers to protect schools.
As part of a series of far-reaching gun control proposals, President Barack Obama recommended Wednesday a federal $150 million "Comprehensive School Safety Program" that would help school districts hire school guards, counselors and other staff.
Violating provisions in Missouri Senate Bill 124 would be classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and would elevate to a Class D felony for the parent if a child who illegally acquires an unsecured gun commits a crime or kills or injures another person.
Reactions to the proposal are mixed. School administrators tell KFVS that the legislation likely wouldn't reduce gun violence, and would only create extra paperwork. Resident Logan Hennecke tells the station that he thinks it's "a very smart choice" for parents and schools to know which students have access to firearms, but parent Kris Mullis tells KSDK that forcing parents to notify schools of gun ownership "is not going to deter the behavior that makes people do what they do with guns."
Republican state Sen. Brian Munzlinger, who introduced legislation last week that would make certain federal firearm laws unenforceable, tells MDN that he believes Chapelle-Nadal's bill violates the Second Amendment. Chapelle Nadal responded in a statement Wednesday.
"I don’t think the Second Amendment says that it’s okay for a 12-year-old to kill another 12-year-old because grandpa left his gun out,” she said. “This bill is not about taking your guns away at all… I am trying to attack kids who are committing crimes and taking guns to the streets and killing other people.”
Also on HuffPost:
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
"I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/louie-gohmert-guns_n_2311379.html"><em>Fox News Sunday</em></a>. He argued that shooters often choose schools because they know people will be unarmed.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)
"If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school," he <a href="http://www.wtop.com/610/3162096/Gov-Is-it-time-to-arm-school-officials">told WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show</a> Tuesday, warning that Washington may respond to such a policy with a "knee-jerk reaction."
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) & State Sen. Frank Niceley (R)
Gov. Haslam says he will consider a Tennessee plan to secretly arm and train some teachers, <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/12/tennessee-armed-teachers.php">TPM reports</a>. The legislation will be introduced by State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) next month. "Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn’t know which teacher has training, then he wouldn’t know which one had [a gun]," Niceley told TPM. "These guys are obviously cowards anyway and if someone starts shooting back, they’re going to take cover, maybe go ahead and commit suicide like most of them have."
Oklahoma State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) & State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)
State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) <a href="http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121217_336_0_OKLAHO168827">told the Tulsa World</a> he plans to file legislation that would bring guns into schools, calling their absence "irresponsible." “It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended – to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it," he said. "I’ve been considering this proposal for a long time. In light of the savagery on display in Connecticut, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come." Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) told the Tulsa World that teachers should carry concealed weapons at school events. "Allowing teachers and administrators with concealed-carry permits the ability to have weapons at school events would provide both a measure of security for students and a deterrent against attackers," he said.
Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R)
Baxley, who once sponsored Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, <a href="http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2012/12/17/florida-legislator-allow-guns-in-schools/">told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune </a>that keeping guns out of schools makes them a target for attacks. “We need to be more realistic at looking at this policy," he said. "In our zealousness to protect people from harm we’ve created all these gun-free zones and what we’ve inadvertently done is we’ve made them a target. A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
At a Tea Party event Monday night, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/rick-perry-guns-in-schools_n_2322185.html">Perry praised a Texas school system that allows some staff to carry concealed weapons to work</a> and encouraged local school districts to make their own policies.
Minnesota State Rep. Tony Cornish (R)
Cornish <a href="http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22736&Itemid=57">plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers to arm themselves</a>, according to the AP.
Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R)
In an email <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/oregon-state-rep-dennis-richardson-teacher-guns-stopped-connecticut-shooting_n_2317444.html?ir=Education">obtained by Gawker</a> and excerpted below, Richardson tells three superintendents that he could have saved lives had he been armed and in Sandy Hook on Friday: <blockquote>If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide. ... [O]ur children's safety depends on having a number of well-trained school employees on every campus who are prepared to defend our children and save their lives?</blockquote>
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett
"And I'm not so sure -- and I'm sure I'll get mail for this -- I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," Bennett, who served as education secretary under Ronald Reagan, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/bill-bennett-education-secretary-connecticut-shooting_n_2311774.html">told <em>Meet the Press</em> Sunday</a>. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone who's trained, responsible. But, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, I think you ought to."