Bill could damage state without boosting gun rights

STATE lawmakers are urged to consider carefully the consequences of the Second Amendment Preservation Act as those consequences were outlined recently by state Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin. We have always found Roberts, a former Joplin police chief who later was named director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, to be an insightful, thoughtful lawmaker, and if he warns us about a problem with legislation — particularly in his wheelhouse — we would be wise to listen. Under the bill, any federal gun law or act that infringes on Missouri residents’ Second Amendment rights could not be enforced by local, county or state law officers. Roberts told a group Friday during an Eggs and Issues forum that he was concerned about sanctions contained in the bill, which the House passed recently. Originally, it included sanctions against police officers themselves — Roberts said it took away the officers’ employment, it took away their police license for the rest of their life, it took away what limited qualified immunity they had and made no provisions for how they would defend themselves. “It’s not like they are overpaid anyway, but they would have had to pay for that defense out of their own pocket,” Roberts said at the forum. The bill has been modified so that it instead allows sanctions against officers’ employers — police departments, for example. The fine could be up to $50,000. “The best way to get the department’s attention, and to make sure that they follow this law […]

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