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Mom calls for waiting period on gun purchases; Missouri lawmakers say it's unlikely

Posted: 4:57 PM, May 11, 2023
Updated: 2023-05-11 19:25:42-04
Janet Delana.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Janet Delana did everything she could think of to prevent her daughter, who had a host of diagnosed mental health disorders, from buying a gun. It didn't work.

Ten years after Colby Weathers shot and killed her dad, Delana wants lawmakers to take gun safety more seriously in Missouri.

READ Part 1 | Mom frustrated decade later by America's gun access issues, system she says failed her daughter

While Delana's daughter had years of documented mental health issues, law enforcement couldn't do anything to stop Weathers from buying a gun without a court order that would flag her in a national database.

But, a court order, as seen with Weather's case, typically comes too late.

Delana wants lawmakers to impose a three-day waiting period on purchasing a gun.

"If Missouri would've had a three day waiting period, she wouldn't have been able to buy the gun until Saturday," she said.

Delana also wants lawmakers to implement a red flag law, which would allow a judge to temporarily block someone's access to a gun if someone believes they're a threat to themselves or others.

The KSHB 41 I-Team reached out to 40 Republican lawmakers in Missouri to weigh in on the issue of gun legislation. None of them would speak about this story.

In October, after a St. Louis school shooting, Governor Mike Parson told NBC affiliate KSDK that a red flag law would not have made a difference.

"You got a criminal that committed a criminal act, you know, and all the laws in the world are not going to stop those things," he said at the time.

Two Democrats, Wes Rogers, who's now retired and Mike Sharp, told the I-Team it's not likely anything will change due to the Republican stronghold in the state.

"We have one of the most Republican-led legislatures in the country," Rogers said.

Rogers spent years trying to work on what he calls common sense gun laws during his time in office. The lack of movement and any serious debate about meaningful gun laws is one of the things Rogers said frustrated him most about serving in the state legislature.

"Red flag laws. It’s just not going to happen in Missouri," Rogers said. "There’s no reason talking about them; There’s no path there."

Sharp said he's tried to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unwell, like Colby, to no avail.

"We’ve been filing bills to file these red flag laws and that just don’t go anywhere in the Missouri legislature," Sharp said.

To Sharp, the topic is personal.

"I’ve had to bury a best friend from gun violence," Sharp said. "I’ve had to bury a sister to domestic violence."

Both Sharp and Rogers say they support the Second Amendment. And, for Rogers, guns are a way of life.

"I grew up in rural Platte County so I'm a gun owner," Rogers said. "I've got a healthy appreciation and respect for firearms."

Still, they both want more to be done to address the violence in America and here at home.

"We can respect the Second Amendment and have laws that keep us safe," Rogers said. "This isn't an either or thing, we have to do both."

Delana tried to stop her daughter from obtaining a weapon herself. She contacted the police, FBI and ATF to see if she could get Colby added to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System.

Because Colby did not have an adjudicated court case, no one could help Delana.

"The first thing I’d probably say to her is, I’m sorry for what’s happened," Sharp said. "I feel this enormous responsibility being in the legislature, when we could’ve done something, when we should’ve done something and we simply didn’t."