Target: Missouri Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe
Goal: Stop the progression of potentially harmful stand-your-ground bill.
Missouri Senator Kurt Schaefer has successfully attached a controversial amendment to a crime bill that would allow deadly force to be used on people who trespass on private property if the property owner “reasonably believes” it is “necessary to protect himself, herself or her unborn child, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony.” This amendment, assuming the bill passes, will be the first passage of stand-your-ground-type legislation to become state law following the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was acquitted by using a defense based around Florida’s stand-your-ground law, which prompted several entities — including the United States Attorney General, an American Bar Association task force, and numerous state legislators — to reconsider the validity of such laws following the trial.
The attachment of what’s being called the “shoot first” amendment is state Sen. Schaefer’s second attempt at proposing stand-your-ground in the Missouri legislature. His first attempt was a stand-alone bill. State Sen. Schaefer has also been instrumental in nullifying Missouri’s gun control laws. Following the successful rollback of Missouri laws requiring background checks and purchase permits in 2014, the state’s gun homicide rate increased by 15 percent, while the national rate dropped 11 percent. Missouri has one of the highest gun murder rates in the country.
Stand-your-ground laws have been shown to increase state homicide rates. A 2012 study from Texas A&M University found no evidence that stand-your-ground laws deter crime, but instead suggested that they actually result in an 8 percent increase in annual homicides nationwide. Another study conducted at Georgia State University also observed an increase in homicides in states with these laws while examining a different data set than the one used at Texas A&M.
Sign the petition and tell the Missouri Senate that stand-your-ground would be a critical political misstep that would endanger the lives of Missourians statewide.
Dear Senator Kehoe,
Senator Kurt Schaefer’s amendment to the crime bill will be, on the assumption the bill passes, the first stand-your-ground legislation enacted as state law since the United States Attorney General, an American Bar Association task force, and state legislators around the nation began seriously questioning the validity of such laws.
Stand-your-ground legislation has been shown to contribute to an increase in gun homicide rates in states where they are active in multiple studies using separate data sets. Compound all of this with the state’s elevated gun homicide rate following state Senator Schaefer’s successful rollback of Missouri gun control laws, and the passage of this stand-your-ground amendment in the crime bill has the potential to have catastrophic consequences.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to prevent the passage of this crime bill, or at least strike out the stand-your-ground amendment, during future deliberation of the bill. The lives of Missourians are at greater risk with the passage of this legislation in its current form.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Niels Noordhoek