This State Bill Would Make It as Hard to Buy a Gun as It Is to Obtain an Abortion

This State Bill Would Make It as Hard to Buy a Gun as It Is to Obtain an Abortion
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

What would happen if the government regulated guns the same way it regulates women's bodies? Democrat and Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman decided to turn the tables on Republicans who offer "thoughts and prayers" following mass shootings but no support for gun control policy.

In Newman's proposed state legislation, House Bill 1397, those looking to purchase firearms would be subject to the same bureaucracy as women seeking abortions. The new protocol would include: 

• A 72-hour waiting period
• A 30-minute video on gun violence and "alternatives to purchasing a firearm"
• A tour of an emergency center between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., where gun violence victims are present
• A requirement that buyers travel at least 120 miles to make their purchase.

If these measures sound ridiculous, consider the 120 miles a woman must travel in Missouri to get an abortion, as Newman explained. Consider state laws that require doctors to offer women the chance to see an ultrasound of the fetus or commonly distributed literature encouraging women to carry their fetus to term. 

For Newman, the injustice is clear.

"If these are the restrictions that are palatable for abortion, let's apply them to people seeking a weapon in Missouri," said Newman. 

Following a tweet about the bill on Friday, Twitter users had their own suggestions to add to the conversation, such as requiring the "consent of the parent, spouse or partner" and "local pastor."

If the bill passes in Missouri, it would go into effect in August 2016. It would be a major step toward gun regulation and expose politicians' hypocritical stances toward women's reproductive rights. Naturally, House Bill 1397 has already been met with dissent.

Republican State Sen. Brian Munzlinger proposed his own Missouri legislation this week. His version would allow concealed firearms on college campuses. Criticizing Newman's bill, Munzlinger said it compares "apples to oranges." 

He's right about this point. Access to guns leads to more homicide, while access to safe reproductive health care protects women's bodies and leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies.

As Newman said, "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."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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