JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) To help prevent dangerous criminals from purchasing deadly weapons, Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, has filed Senate Bill 799 to make it illegal to buy a firearm in Missouri without passing a background check conducted by a licensed firearms dealer.
“Background checks are a common sense way to help to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” Sen. Schupp said “Unfortunately, under Missouri’s current gun laws, criminals can avoid a background check by purchasing a firearm online or at a gun show. Requiring background checks for gun purchases would uphold lawful citizens’ Second Amendment rights while stopping criminals from getting deadly weapons.”
Currently, federal law does not require a background check when guns change hands among individuals. Only transfers conducted by licensed dealers are subject to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Despite overwhelming public support for requiring background checks for all gun purchases, a study by Northeastern University and the Harvard School of Public Health found 22-40 percent of gun transfers nationwide still occur without a background check.
Senator Schupp’s legislation would make the transfer of a firearm without a background check a misdemeanor, subject to a fine up to $1,000 or six months imprisonment. Prior to 2007, Missouri required local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on all transfers of handguns. The nonpartisan John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research reports that Missouri’s firearms homicide rate increased 23 percent after that law was repealed in 2007.