Proposed Legislation Would Criminalize Safe Hunting Practices

Two bills have been introduced in Missouri that will severely hamper hunting safety and mentored hunting. If passed the bills would make all transfers of firearms go through a dealer. That might not seem like a hunter safety issue, but the way the bills are written it would be considered a transfer if you merely hand your hunting buddy your rifle while crossing a fence.

According to the Sportsmen’s Alliance, House Bill 1529 and House Bill 1676 would even require two sportsmen to use a licensed firearm dealer and undergo the background-check process to temporarily loan a firearm for hunting purposes or even simply handing their gun to someone momentarily.

The bills do make exceptions for family members, but they provide absolutely zero exceptions for non-family members.

The language in HB 1529 and HB 1676 would make it unlawful for an experienced hunter to allow a friend to borrow a firearm for hunting or target shooting without first going through a licensed dealer, even if the owner of the firearm is present.

“Essentially what this bill does is make it unlawful to introduce non-family members to hunting or shooting sports,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “A bill like this does more harm than good because it creates yet another barrier for first-time and novice sportsmen and women to gain more experience afield before purchasing the right firearm for themselves.

“Further, these bills criminalize safe firearm handling in the field. Sportsmen are taught to hand their firearm to a partner when crossing fences and other obstructions,” continued Hupp. “The mere act of handing your firearm to someone constitutes a transfer, and would turn safety-abiding sportsmen into criminals subject to Class B misdemeanor.”

If you are a Missouri sportsman I would encourage you to contact your state representative and tell them not to support either of these bills.