JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Press Release) – State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. wrote an open letter to the NRA in defense of legislation that would impose penalties on gun owners who fail to report a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours. HB 185 would ensure that gun owners are being vigilant about their firearms, and increase a sense of personal responsibility and gun safety. Penalties resulting from failure to report a lost or stolen firearm include fines for your first and second offense, and a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed six months or a fine not to exceed $1000, or both, for the third violation.
“I support our Second Amendment, and I proudly exercise mine, but we have a serious problem with gun violence in our state and country. I think that fact is not disputed. Senate Bill 181 and House Bill 185 would protect gun owners and law-enforcement officers from circumstances beyond their control — circumstances that would put gun owners and others at risk when individuals do not report their guns as lost or stolen,” wrote Franks, Jr., D-St. Louis.
After filing this legislation, Franks, Jr. received significant backlash from gun rights activists, including the NRA. Activists have insinuated that he filed this bill as a retort to recently being robbed at gun point, and that the legislation would ultimately end in violating the rights of Missourians.
In response, Rep. Franks, Jr. wrote that he was, “both proud and excited to have created a piece of legislation that truly works to dually promote gun safety and gun rights of Missourians. I came to the Missouri House to build bridges and create unlikely relationships, because those relationships develop the strongest legislation. I pre-filed this bill long before being held at gunpoint, because I truly believe that it is an important piece of legislation that will make Missourians safer while guaranteeing them their due rights. As I continue my time here in the Missouri House, I welcome groups like the NRA and other gun rights activists to come talk to me about my legislation. It is important that we communicate about the best way to improve Missouri, while still securing the rights of its citizens.”
HB 185 now awaits assignment to committee for further discussion.