Missouri Democratic State Representative Stacy Newman sent an open letter to Governor-elect Eric Geitens Sunday.
In it, she references the gunpoint robbery recently experienced by Greitens’ wife. Newman called on the incoming Republican governor to talk to law enforcement agencies which opposed a new law allowing concealed carry of firearms without a permit or training.
She says she hopes the incident involving his wife will force Geitens to acknowledge problems with gun laws in Missouri.
“This happens all the time, particularly in our metropolitan areas” said Newman. “This is not unusual actually. Sometimes it takes being too close to an experience to realize there are ways to stop this, or there are ways to crack down on people having illegal weapons.”
In her letter, Newman said the “stand your ground” defense included in the new law has been shown to greatly increase gun deaths, especially among African Americans. She claims 80 percent of Missourians favor mandatory background checks and notes the state does not require private sellers to initiate them.
The letter says gun violence is not just connected to robberies and homicides, but also suicides, domestic violence and kids. Newman claims Missouri was “#1 in 2015 toddler shootings across the country”, a statistic connected to research by The Washington Post published in October of last year.
Newman claims Republican lawmakers in Missouri are swayed by money from the gun lobby. “It explains to you the power that the gun lobby…how they’ve purchased, they’ve actually purchased a party, particularly in our own state. Ya know, for us to say that gun violence is partisan is really, really sad.”
In her letter, Newman said Greitens could stand up to corporate lobbies and be proactive in saving people’s lives. Newman dismisses claims by some Republicans that gun legislation won’t be obeyed by people who would break the law. “That’s a really silly argument” said Newman. “Why should any of us spend any time in the legislature crafting new legislation if people are not going to follow them if they become laws? I mean, that’s really a silly argument.”
Greitens’ transitional operation did not respond to Missourinet’s request for comment on Newman’s letter.
The measure that took effect this year and will be fully implemented in the new year, is known as Senate Bill 656, which does away with sheriff-issued permits in order to carry concealed weapons, and eliminates the requirement for eight hours of gun training.
It also is the first legislation since the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, to include ‘Stand Your Ground’ language to allow use of deadly force in public without imposing a requirement to retreat.