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What the Gun Culture Has Done for Missouri

AP PhotoIf guns are the answer and not the problem, as the NRA set claims, Missouri ought to be a very safe state with low rates of gun violence. A quick and dirty review of current Missouri legislation shows a very gun-friendly environment:

• Guns can be carried openly except in a few specified locations (e.g., churches, airports, polling places, etc.) where they are prohibited.

• Individuals 21 and older are permitted to carry concealed handguns in the glove compartment of their cars.

• Local jurisdictions are forbidden to enact gun laws that are stricter than those enacted by the state.

• Missouri has a "castle law" that permits individuals to shoot first and think later if they believe themselves to be threatened within the confines of their home or their car.

• No categories of guns (e.g., assault weapons) are prohibited, there is no waiting period to purchase a gun, nor do guns need to be registered.

Since the state is already so permissive in regard to gun ownership, many state GOP politicians have had to go the extra mile into crazyland in order to show their contempt for those of us who believe in the rule of law rather than force and would like to see some regulation of deadly weapons. In 2013 alone lawmakers have proposed the following:

• GOP Mike Leara (Dist. 96) introduced legislation that would imprison fellow legislators for attempting to introduce gun safety legislation.

• GOP Rep. Casey Guernsey (Dist. 2) put forward a bill that would make it illegal for any elected official to carry out provisions of federal gun safety legislation, killing two birds with one stone - gun safety and promoting the spurious tenther nullification drivel promoted by sour grapes GOPers who want to be able to nullify democracy by evading laws they don't like.

• GOP Rep. Wanda Brown (Dist. 116) has offered SB 639 which would prohibit doctors and other health care professionals from asking patients (even those suffering from gun-shot wounds) about firearm ownership or keeping such information in medical records. It also prohibits school employees from asking students about guns in their homes.

So what has all this guns are good, regulation bad, furor done for Missouri? Take a look at the map below that shows the states with the most gun violence:

 

Makes you think, doesn't it? Looks like the states - such as Missouri which, you will note, ranks in the top ten states for gun violence - that have a no-holds barred approach to gun ownership have much higher rates of gun violence than other states. No wonder the NRA has to resort to the tin-foil hat, black-helicopter stuff to rally the faithful and keep the gun industry mollified. When the truth doesn't work for you, the bigger the lie, the better.

What is it about the GOP that they think its a good thing to squelch information and keep folks in the dark? You will notice that the chart above is based on information from the Centers for Disease Control - presumably information similar to the statistics Rep. Brown seeks to suppress with SB639 described above.  

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