Jackson County & St. Louis prosecutors attack proposed gun law changes


The Jackson County and St. Louis state prosecutors on Wednesday urged Missouri lawmakers not to pass a resolution to change the state constitution related to guns.

The changes that must be approved by state voters appear harmless at first glance, they said, but “will place the safety and security of the citizens of Missouri in jeopardy.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and St. Louis Circuit Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce raised their concerns in a letter to House Speaker Timothy Jones and in a joint press release.

“The proposed language (in Senate Joint Resolution 36) has the potential to give gang members, drug dealers, domestic abusers and other criminal a right to carry guns,” Peters Baker said.

If approved by voters, the changes give “law-abiding citizens and hunters no more protection than already afforded in the second amendment, she said, but prosecutors can be certain criminals will seek protection of this new language.”

Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican, says in a YouTube video that the minor changes just add to the right to bear arms the added words “ammunition and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms.”

It also adds “family” to the things you can use arms to defend besides home, person and property.

But the change also adds: “The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.”

It also adds, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm …”

Jackson County prosecutors say language with “unalienable” or similar high constitutional standards has been found in some other state courts to eliminate charges against felons in possession.

The Missouri change appears not to do that for felons with violent convictions but could prosecutors still charge convicted drug-dealing gangsters with felon in possession?

Also, judges commonly order those charged with serious domestic violence crimes to forfeit guns to protect victims during court proceedings. Would that still be allowed?

Also, citizens are often forbidden to carry guns into schools, courts and other buildings. Would that still be allowed?

In their letter, the two prosecutors ask Jones to “please stand on the side of public safety and commonsense and refuse to engage in this potentially deadly political theater.”

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