Should Guns Be As Hard To Get As Abortions?

Photo: Robyn Beck/Getty Images.
As the U.S. is once again debating how to limit the availability of guns in the wake of the most recent pair of mass shootings, one lawmaker has a truly great idea: Why not regulate guns the same way we regulate abortions?

Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman has pre-filed a bill in the state legislature that would make it just as hard to get a firearm as it currently is to get an abortion, St. Louis Magazine reports. The proposed bill requires that prospective gun owners meet with a doctor to discuss the risks of gun ownership 72 hours before purchase, tour an emergency trauma center and observe victims of gun violence, watch a 30-minute educational video about gun deaths, and travel at least 120 miles to purchase their gun from a licensed dealer.

The requirements mirror the sorts of hoops that pregnant women have to jump through to obtain an abortion in Missouri. As of 2014, there was only one clinic in Missouri that even performs the procedure. Missouri also has laws in effect requiring a three-day waiting period for an abortion, and health insurance is not allowed to cover the procedures unless a woman’s life is in danger. Missouri also requires that doctors give women written materials that state that personhood begins at conception, and that a fetus is able to feel pain — both of which are scientifically incorrect.

According to the National Rifle Association, Missouri does not require permits to purchase firearms, or that owners register their guns with the state. Missouri does require that owners have a permit to carry handguns but not for shotguns or rifles.

Newman, a Democrat, doesn’t expect the bill to pass. The Missouri legislature is Republican-controlled and will certainly kill the legislation. But Newman hopes that it will raise some awareness of the cognitive dissonance of regulating women’s bodies more strictly than a lethal weapon. “Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP’s legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence,” she told St. Louis Magazine. “Our city mayors and law enforcement drastically need help in saving lives.”
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