Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman (D) has a creative idea for tackling the high rates of gun violence in her state: regulate gun purchases as tightly as abortion services.
According to St. Louis Magazine, Newman pre-filed a bill this week that would make it just as difficult to buy a deadly weapon in Missouri as it currently is to get an abortion — including imposing a 72-hour waiting period for prospective gun buyers and requiring them to receive information about alternative to guns, like “peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution.”
Missouri, which is home to just one clinic that performs abortions, has some of the harshest restrictions on the procedure in the country. Patients must wait three full days before they’re allowed to end a pregnancy and make two separate trips to the state’s lone clinic.
“It is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” Newman said in a statement. “If we truly insist that Missouri cares about ‘all life’, then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence.”
Under Newman’s proposed legislation, prospective gun buyers would be required to jump through multiple hoops before legally obtaining a firearm.
At least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun, they would be required to meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership. After the three day waiting period, they would need to locate a licensed firearm dealer located at least 120 miles from their home, which is the average distance that women currently must travel to get an abortion.
Before the sale, the buyer would also be required to complete several educational requirements. Newman’s bill stipulates that they must tour an emergency trauma center treating victims of gun violence, meet with at least two families affected by gun violence, and talk to two local faith leaders who have performed funerals for children who have been killed by guns. Then, before walking out of the store with their gun, they would need to watch a 30-minute video in the presence of the firearm dealer that details fatal gun injuries and review information about alternatives to purchasing a firearm.
Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature — which considered more than 30 different new abortion restrictions last year — isn’t likely to advance Newman’s tongue-in-cheek legislation. But she’s not the first reproductive rights proponent to make the comparison between abortion and guns.
Across the country, it’s much more difficult to legally end a pregnancy than it is to legally buy a firearm. There are more waiting periods imposed on people who want to get abortion care than there are for people who want to purchase a gun. And the legislative trends for these two issues are moving in opposite directions. An increasing number of new restrictions on abortion have made it harder for Americans to exercise their right to choose — but, at the same time, states have loosened gun regulations to make it easier to carry a firearm.
There’s been increased scrutiny on gun violence prevention efforts this week thanks to tragic news of multiple mass shootings — one of which took place at an abortion clinic in Colorado Springs. So far, there have been more mass shootings in 2015 than days in the calendar.