KC police attack gun law nullification


By Joe Lambe

The dispute over state gun law spilled out at city hall Tuesday, as police attacked another attempt  to nullify federal gun laws.

The Missouri house and senate have both passed bills and Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to veto the measure, as he did last year.

The house bill would allow federal authorities to be sued for enforcing federal gun laws. Federal agents could be charged with a crime for it under the senate version.

On Monday, police reported that their work with federal authorities was critical in reducing violent crime.

Captain Joe McHale, manager of the police No Violence Alliance, said it would be “devastating” if federal gun crime laws could not be enforced.

He routinely works with federal authorities to get “felon in possession” charges that carry significant federal prison time.

Federal officials also provide information that links bullets, guns and spent shell casings to other crimes.

“It’s not intended to take guns away from people who have a legal right to own guns,” McHale said of the joint efforts.

Councilman John Sharp, chair of the public safety committee, said that nullification supporters say it is pro guns, “when it is a pro-criminal issue, period.”

Local and federal authorities working together against gun crime is also an approach praised in “Smart Policing,” a recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last year, it notes, Kansas City police and federal agents did a successful 10-month undercover operation that targeted violent felons who carry guns.

It resulted in 61 arrests, seizure of more than 220 guns and a 49 percent decrease in gun crimes in the targeted area, the report states.

But it also said that neither Kansas City nor any of the other departments studied did anything to take on illegal gun sales in any significant way.

Given limited resources of federal agents with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, it states, “… individuals who illegally transfer firearms currently face little risk unless state and local law enforcement join the ATF’s efforts to combat illegal gun sales.”

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