Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Local/federal Partnerships Work in Reducing Gun Violence; Missouri Gun Bill; Legislation Would Make Communities Less Safe

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Local/federal Partnerships Work in Reducing Gun Violence; Missouri Gun Bill; Legislation Would Make Communities Less Safe

Article excerpt

The Missouri Legislature is receiving national attention for passing a law that would attempt to nullify all federal gun laws within the state. The legislation was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, but the Legislature may attempt to override that veto.

Most legal experts agree that the legislation is unconstitutional. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not allow state legislatures to nullify federal laws.

As police officials, we are concerned about this legislation because it would make it a state crime for our federal partners at the FBI, ATF and other agencies to do their job of enforcing federal gun laws in Missouri. The prospect of Missouri officials trying to arrest federal agents is unimaginable, but that is what House Bill 436 would allow.

This legislation is offensive due to the disrespect it shows to federal law enforcement agents. Our partnerships with federal officials are a key part of our strategies for reducing gun violence. Federal criminal sentences for gun violence are usually more certain than those provided under state law. And federal agencies provide important resources in personnel, equipment and intelligence about violent criminals.

The respect for federal agencies among local police, particularly with respect to reducing gun violence, is found nationwide. In 2009, The Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research organization, conducted a survey of all local law enforcement agencies serving cities of 100,000 or more regarding their gun violence strategies.

PERF asked the local police to rate dozens of gun violence reduction strategies, such as tracing guns found at crime scenes, investigating straw purchases of guns on behalf of convicted felons, deploying gunshot detection technology, targeting violent gangs, removing guns from the scene of domestic violence calls, and providing gun safety education in schools.

The strategies that involve working with federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors received high approval ratings. In fact, the number one strategy that police chiefs consider most effective in preventing gun violence is submitting cases to the U. …

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