The Missouri 'Rat Your Kid Out or Rat Yourself Out' Act

A state legislator in St. Louis County has sponsored gun legislation for the State of Missouri.

Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, is sponsoring SB 124, the Rat Your Kid Out or Rat Yourself Out Act.

Among the key provisions of the Act:

1.This act creates the offense of failing to stop illegal firearm possession. A person commits the offense if he or she is the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18, he or she knows the child possesses a firearm in violation of the law, and he or she fails to stop the possession or report it to law enforcement.

2.This act also creates the offense of negligent storage of a firearm. A parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 commits the offense by recklessly storing or leaving a firearm in a manner that is likely to result in the child accessing the firearm if the child obtains access to the firearm and unlawfully carries it to school, kills or injures another person with it, or commits a crime with it.

3.This act requires a parent or guardian to notify a school district, or the governing body of a private or charter school, that he or she owns a firearm within 30 days of enrolling the child in school or becoming the owner of a firearm.

Violations of this act are a class A misdemeanor or, in the event of death or injury as a result of violating the act, a class C felony. Failure to notify the school leads to a $100 fine or, should the parent or guardian be found guilty of improperly storing and locking the firearm, a $1000 fine will be applicable.

There are a number of issues with this that should be addressed.

First, illegal firearm possession by underage kids is definitely an issue, but what do we mean by possession of a firearm?  Would an antique flintlock pistol qualify as a firearm? A cigarette lighter that looks like a pistol? What if the thing did not work? What if it is a toy gun? I see no definition of "firearm" being given in this legislation, which I fear is cause for concern, given that children are getting into trouble for pointing sticks or even fingers at each-other and saying "bang".

Consider this: a special needs child was suspended for bringing a toy gun to school. Would that child's parents be prosecuted under this statute?

And this sets an age of majority for gun possession. Does that mean that the father of a boy who hunts with him can be arrested?  Notice there is no specificity in the bill.

That is not by accident; this is intended to be as broad as possible, to open the door for more and stricter regulations down the road. Were Chappelle-Nadal putting forth a serious bill she would have specific definitions and a very circumscribed legal requirement. It is open-ended for a reason.

The fact is the Left has wanted all vestiges, indeed, all thoughts of firearm ownership washed away. Remember Eric Holder's comments about brainwashing" the public against guns. Liberals have sought to keep children from playing with toy guns.

And this provision is not even necessary, as it is already unlawful to sell or give firearms to any person who is not lawfully entitled to possess one - that includes those under 18 without custodial permission. There is the kicker; it is not illegal to sell or give an underage child a gun provided the parent agrees. This law now makes guardians legally responsible for illegally obtained firearms.

Firearms illegally obtained are already illegal. I don't know how to make that any plainer to the Left.

The purpose of this is to intimidate parents and guardians into refusing any gun ownership to children. Whatever happened to the argument that "they'll do it anyway"? The Left is ever quick to apply this to teen sex, demanding that condoms be given out and sex-ed taught. Why don't we then have gun ed, and firearm safety taught in schools? Why shouldn't parents teach their kids the responsible way to handle firearms? If Adam Lanza negated that theory (since his mother taught him about guns) then every teen pregnancy and every teen STD negates the whole "they'll do it anyway" argument.

Second, negligent storage of firearms would now become a crime under state law. To comply with this requirement a citizen would be forced to make his gun unavailable in the event of great need, such as a criminal forcibly entering his home. What good is a gun if you cannot get to it fairly easily when the need arises?  Liberals argue that the citizenry should not try this at home, wait for the authorities. Well, a ten minute delay could mean death for someone being accosted. The value of gun possession to the citizen drops considerably under this bill.

Which is, of course, the whole point.

The Missouri Constitution sets it out quite plainly:

"Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned..."

Laws demanding guns be locked away violate this section; how can a citizen defend his home, person, or property if he cannot get to his firearms in a timely manner?  Also, please note it says every citizen.

Finally, requiring the gun owner to disclose to government officials at the schools is tantamount to registration. What part of "The Right to Keep and Bear arms shall not be infringed" don't they understand?

Gun control starts with gun registration, and while the political will is not there for registration the Left is going to try very hard to backdoor it.

(Many thanks to Jack Kemp for the heads-up.)

Timothy Birdnow is a St. Louis based writer. He and Jack Kemp and friends  blog at