Missouri leads the nation with the highest number of children getting their hands on guns and accidentally harming themselves or others.
In 2015, at least five toddlers in the state shot themselves or someone else.
On July 18, 2015, a 3-year-old accidentally shot himself in the arm after getting a hold of a gun at a relative’s house in Boone County.
State Rep. Stacey Newman, (D) Richmond Heights, is the sponsor of House Bill 2500. Newman and prosecuting attorneys presented the bill at the Carnahan Courthouse in St. Louis Monday afternoon.
The legislation would add a provision to the child endangerment statute to include firearms.
“This simple bill actually just gives prosecutors throughout the entire state a tool that they can use if a child becomes either injured or killed because of negligence of an adult,” she said.
The bill says a person could be prosecuted for first degree child endangerment “if he or she knowingly fails to secure a readily available, loaded deadly weapon in the presence of a child less than 17 years of age.”
‘Secure’ is defined as a gun equipped with a lock, kept in a safe or unloaded of ammunition.
“This in no way infringes on anyone’s second amendment right,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. “What this is, is it protects children by holding the adults in their lives accountable when they fail to secure a weapon.”
HB 2500 is awaiting a house committee hearing.