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Dear Editor:

At least 45 little kids under 3 years old as of Aug. 31 have pulled the trigger on a gun and shot themselves or someone else. That number includes toddlers barely able to walk . In 2015 Missouri was No. 1 in the country in toddler shootings and has no law holding adults accountable.

Missouri Legislature's response? Advance SB656 which would abolish training required for a concealed gun and remove a sheriff's ability to denying a permit to abusers.

Missouri Police Chiefs Association and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police adamantly opposes this gun lobby sponsored-gun bill, citing the danger to law enforcement safety, let alone the public's well being. The Missouri Catholic Conference also publicly denounced SB 656, stating "Missouri citizens of good will, however, not to fall prey to the notion that we are somehow safer as individuals and as a society if everyone is always and everywhere armed."

So why on earth is the GOP insistent on it becoming law?

SB656, if law, will ensure that gun violence death rates in Missouri will spike. SB656 will guarantee more domestic violence victims, putting not just women at risk but all of her family members. With the ease of buying a weapon online with no questions asked, no background checks and no training required to carry for a concealed permit, gun death rates including suicides and children accessing guns will definitely increase.

GOP legislators consistently bring up children's issues but stop short of addressing gun suicide rates of kids, school shootings or even keeping kids safe from accidental shootings. Their arguments against overwhelmingly popular gun safety measures which would save children's lives, such as universal backgrounds checks on all gun sales, include their "right to self defense"

Meanwhile, we are losing kids to gun violence at alarming rates and no one seems to care in Missouri's GOP-controlled legislature. Surgeons consistently tell of fruitless attempts to save these little kids, which they usually cannot do. The anguish medical professionals deal with every single day due to gun violence is haunting.

As I fight to uphold the governor's veto of SB656 during the veto session, I urge others to do the same.

Meanwhile, please keep your kids away from your guns at home.

Missouri's GOP legislature is hell bent on making sure there's more for them to easily play with and yes, kill themselves.

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