St. Louis Opposition to Missouri Gun Bill Grows: Mayor, Police Chiefs Slam Effort to Block Feds

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Drug Enforcement Administration/ public domain
St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch does not support stricter federal gun control -- but he's also not a fan of Missouri's controversial proposal to actively block the feds, either. In a move that signals growing and widespread opposition to one of the state's most hotly debated pieces of legislation this year, Fitch today fired off a letter to House Speaker Timothy Jones saying that while he has generally opposed new gun laws, he cannot back House Bill 436, the proposal to make it a crime to enforce certain federal gun laws in the state of Missouri.

This letter, on view below, puts Fitch on the same side as St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson and Mayor Francis Slay, both vocal supporters of stricter gun policies, who are doubling down on criticisms of the GOP's "Second Amendment Preservation Act."

"If you are for this bill, you are for criminals," Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for Slay, tells Daily RFT. "You are tying law enforcement officers' hands. It is a dangerous bill."

See also: Mentally Challenged Man Kills Sister: "This Is Why Gun Control Is Important"

Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation in July, arguing that, among a range of concerns, the state cannot constitutionally pass a law that would directly contradict federal ones. The lengthy bill most notably makes it a criminal offense for officials in Missouri to enforce or even attempt to enforce federal laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. Supporters say the state has a right to stand up to unconstitutional gun control efforts. Critics, however, argue that the language of the legislation would actually impede all sorts of existing law enforcement efforts, including crucial federal-local partnerships.

People on both sides agree that the law will almost certainly lead to a court battle.

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Facebook / SLMPD
Police Chief Sam Dotson (front) with County Police Chief Tim Fitch (back) and Governor Jay Nixon.

Next Wednesday, Missouri lawmakers will convene to vote on a potential override of Nixon's veto, and with the help of a few Democrats, the legislature may successfully enact the bill (which has been cast as one of the most extreme states' rights and pro-gun initiatives in the country right now).

Most recently, Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, announced his opposition to the legislation, outlining a range of troubling hypothetical scenarios in which this law would inhibit police.

Fitch's letter says that he supports the "general assembly's desire to protect Missourians' rights under the Second Amendment," noting that he publicly opposed new federal gun restrictions in the wake of the tragic Newtown elementary school shooting. But, he says (emphasis his):

House Bill No. 436, if it becomes law, will hinder local law enforcement's ability to enforce existing laws. The men and women of the St. Louis County Police Department work every day with our federal partners to enforce these laws. Sections 5 and 7 will cause us to disband our local task forces, which have a real impact on violent crime in our community. Additionally, it will subject our police officers to additional civil liability. Our job is difficult enough without the threats of more lawsuits.

In addition to his letter, Dotson, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté and Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, have co-authored an op-ed in today's Post-Dispatch outlining their concerns with the proposal. The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police is also urging against an override of the veto.

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via Facebook / Tim Jones
House Speaker Tim Jones.

Crane offers Daily RFT some more specifics on how the legislation is a serious concern to Slay and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD).

Citing a recent partnership with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in which 267 firearms were seized and 159 people were charged in the metro area, Crane says, "If House Bill 436 would have been law, none of those guns and none of those bad guys would be off the streets, because it was a joint investigation."

"Each one of those 159 people, if HB 436 would have been in effect then, would have been able to sue the SLMPD officer involved in the case," she continues. "It's almost like putting a welcome sign on Missouri, saying, 'Hey criminals, come here.'"

Crane argues that this bill isn't about Second Amendment rights and law-abiding gun owners.

"This is about giving us the tools to prosecute with the laws we already have," she says. "Here in the city of St. Louis, it's no secret that gun crimes are a priority. We have too many people carrying too many illegal weapons. We're not talking about the 'responsible, armed citizens.'"

Continue for more of our interview with Maggie Crane and response from House Speaker Tim Jones.


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33 comments
Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

I love how the little cowards comment and then delete their trolling.

Nick Scydick
Nick Scydick

I don't understand what guns have to do with peepees; but Scott, you may be gay actually... you should look into that. Other than that... The officers are absolutely likely to be sued successfully... if you think that seems impossible, you need to check out some case stories on successful lawsuits that make a lot less sense than this. No, I do not believe the officers should be sued, and no... I am also not a fan of police, just seems a little backwards to me. They were doing their job at the time.

Dane Elkins
Dane Elkins

Wow, Scott your level of stupidity is jaw dropping. Spoken like someone with the blinders on and no real world experience. Stay away from sharp objects buddy, it's gonna be messy when your bubble bursts.

Scott Lockhart
Scott Lockhart

Clyde, you are a delusional paranoid chicken shit. Have you been tested for PTSD? I have a lot more concern about a wigged out vigilante wanna be like you packing heat than any one else I encounter in the real world. Keep looking for trouble, George Zimmerman Jr ; I am sure someone will accomodate you.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

You are just running your mouth- you don't even care about the subject or who comments on it, just causing trouble. The Jeep has got it's original warmed up V8, it runs just fine. That's an old picture of it.

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

awesome, defenseless. who's misinterpreting 2A? I'm a coward because I'm not blind to see that evil exists? I'm a coward because I take personal defense seriously. I'm a coward because I own a gun? I too am smart enough to avoid violent situations, i make a conscious decision to avoid them. 2A is an individual right, see the heller decision, I'm just waiting for some piece of legislation that will have a positive effect on crime, without taking away, or telling law abiding citizens how they can or cant defend themselves. I know I'm no longer in Kandahar, Baghdad, Ramadi or Basrah (all places I've served) but the violence doesn't stop there. Every day in STL, there are several shootings, by CRIMINALS, and IF i were ever near by, i could choose to fight or flee, but with that choice, i also have the ability to say that i will not go willingly into a back room to be executed by a madman. I hope to god this never happens, but if my gun is in its holster, invisible to anyone, no one needs to worry, but if anyone does see it, they will be thankful that I'm holding it, because it would be in reaction to a violent madman. When seconds count, police are only minutes away.

Scott Lockhart
Scott Lockhart

Clyde I'm a Veteran myself. I think that civilians who misinterpret the 2nd Amendment to build an arsenal are dimwits and cowards. And I'm smart enough to avoid violent situations and capable enough to fend for myself. In a battle of wits, you sir, are defenseless.

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

So, the vast majority of Police and Military have small penises? I'd like you to say that to their face. Furthermore, almighty hugedick, next time you are out, and some jackass decides its a good day to [commit violent crime] in your presence, just look down at your bulging crotch, and be thankful that your enormous manhood will save you from an insane person who cannot be reasoned with and just wants to cause pain to people due to his simple lack of respect for life.

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Can you not read I said I didn't care why would I read it lol

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Then don't come in running your mouth . Lucky if that weak jeep makes it out of a puddle

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

Read the article- then comment. Don't worry about who it's directed to.

Scott Lockhart
Scott Lockhart

Steve: love people, not guns. And sorry about your little ****.

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

You said that before I came so . Did you read my question smart guy

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

The key word here is "if". Now read the article.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

Police officers arrest people for violation of federal laws all the time.

Samuel Borders
Samuel Borders

How could they sue if the law wasn't on the books at the time when their weapons were seized? Remember that whole no ex post facto laws? You can't sue someone for violating a law that wasn't yet passed. I think both sides need to stop their BS and just tell the truth on these issues.

Brian Wittling
Brian Wittling

So when exactly did StL PD become Federal agents? Sounds lij e someone didn't read the bill..

EHOlsen
EHOlsen

Here's a thought.  Part of what is illegal under teh National Firearms Act of 1934 is private manufacture of sound suppressors without Federal license, even if they NEVER leave the state they are constructed in or never to be sold by the individual manufacturing them.  We are required by law to install mufflers on the exhaust pipes of our cars, trucks and motorcycles to reduce noice polution.  We have Federal laws requiring noisy enviornments to have signs posted to ensure everyone inside those enviornments to wear hearing protection.  Yet we are proscribed by law without specific exemption under the NFA '34 to own or possess sound deadening equipment for firearms.  In Missouri, it is legal to own them and use them to hunt as long as the Federal laws are followed.  If our vehicles and work enviornments - things NOT protected by any Constitutional individual right to possess access to - followed the same rules, we would ahve a much louder environment and much worse hearing.

I fail to see the disconnect.  Silencers do NOT function the way they are shown on TV or in movies.  With the exception of 'sub sonic' .22lr (one of the smallest bullets available) it is nearly impossible to remove all of the noise from a gunshot, especially when the fired bullet breaks the sound barrier.  Revolvers and pump-action shotguns are nearly impossible to silence and make up the majority of firearms used in crimes.

SB_in_StL
SB_in_StL

I'm with ya there Scott. I just don't get the gun obsession--can only see two reasons to carry a gun around. Either you're just terrified of your fellow citizen or you're suffering from delusions of grandeur. Clyde sounds like a bit of both. I can tell you, having spent some time in Jeff City, that most of those general assembly yahoos are also john wayne wannabes.

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