I will be in Jefferson City today standing with Kansas City Mayor Sly James. We mean to call attention to bills being considered by the General Assembly that would make it less likely that federal agencies would work with our police departments.
Last summer, the City of St. Louis partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the United States Attorney's Office to take 159 dangerous career criminals and 267 guns off our streets. Officers recovered guns used to kill people. It's no secret that criminals receive tougher and swifter sentences in federal court than in state court. The task force made St. Louis safer.
Some versions of the legislation being debated in the General Assembly seek to criminalize work like that of the task force. Other versions of the bills would empower criminals to sue task force members - and permit courts to award criminals their attorneys' fees.
Had legislation like this been in effect last year, the ATF and the U.S. Attorney would not have participated in the task force. The violent criminals they arrested would most likely still be in our neighborhoods terrorizing our citizens.
I'm not against guns. I am against guns in the hands of criminals. I support gun rights for law-abiding citizens. But, it should be harder for dangerous people to buy guns. It should be easier for police and federal agents to remove them from our streets. It is a topsy-turvy world when that is not self-evident.
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