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New bill could hold Missouri parents liable in school shootings

When the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary occurred, an entire nation mourned the loss of so many lives as a result of gun violence. Even thousands of miles away, parents and legislators here in Missouri realized that accidents like this can and should be prevented from happening in the future.

In a recent proposal by Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a new bill could hold Missouri parents legally liable if their child gets a hold of an unsecured firearm and injures or kills someone as a result.

Senate Bill 124 was drafted in response to not only the recent gun violence in the past few months in other states but is an effort to address the violence going on in many urban areas across Missouri. Despite Sen. Chappelle-Nadal belief in a person's Second Amendment right to bear arms, she feels that a majority of gun violence cases happen when children get possession of their parents' firearms because the gun has not been properly secured.

In instances such as this, if the bill passes, parents would be held liable for negligently storing a firearm. According to the bill, a parent will be considered negligent if a firearm is not properly secured in a home where a child could have access to it. Secured storage is defined in the bill as "keeping a gun in a locked container, has a trigger lock, or is kept on the parent's body."

Since August 2012, there have been more than a dozen incidents involving teenagers and guns, including the wrongful death of a 12-year-old boy in December who was fatally shot by another 12-year-old boy.

Although the senator says that she knows her bill, realistically, has no chance of becoming law, she still hopes that it will bring focus to the discussion of guns and how best to prevent future violence in the state of Missouri.

Source:, "Bill makes Missouri parents liable for child gun accidents, crimes," Jonathan Shorman, Jan. 23, 2013

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