State senator looks to stiffen gun-possession laws

By Creighton Hayes

JEFFERSON CITY — A Democratic state senator wants to require parents of children in public schools to notify their school district of how many guns the family owns.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal prefiled the measure in advance of the Legislature’s regular session that begins in January. The St. Louis County Democrat’s plan would also make negligently storing a firearm a state crime.

“We want to make sure we have safe environments and that our students and their families are also safe,” she said.

If a child obtains a firearm and unlawfully carries it to school or commits a crime with the weapon, its owner would be charged with a misdemeanor. If death or injury occured from using the gun, the owner could be charged with a felony.

Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, the sponsor of legislation last year that would have attempted to block enforcement of federal gun control laws, said he wouldn’t support Chappelle-Nadal’s bill. He said it infringes on an individual’s right to own firearms.

Chappelle-Nadal sponsored similar legislation last year. It received a hearing in the Senate General Laws Committee, but no further action was taken. Her proposal is unlikely to gain traction in a Legislature dominated by Republicans.

A top Senate Republican is also pushing for legislation next year that would attempt to nullify federal gun laws and subject law enforcement officials who enforce those laws to civil penalties.