Jean Peters Baker: Public safety threat involving Missouri firearms must be fixed

Last year, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker warned the Missouri General Assembly that the language proposed in Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s (R-Columbia) gun bill would have dangerous consequences. A majority in the legislature didn’t heed Peters Baker’s warning, or the warnings issued by law enforcement officials from across Missouri, and instead approved Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s reckless gun measure.

In a recent guest column published in The St. Louis American, Peters Baker calls on the legislature to clean up the mess they created.

While law-abiding Missourians got no benefit, because we were already guaranteed our right to bear arms, others stood much to gain. My warnings were aimed at language in the amendment making it potentially legal for some of the most dangerous individuals, including convicted drug dealers and gang members, to legally carry firearms.

As the law currently stands, violent felons including convicted drug dealers and gang members can legally carry firearms in Missouri. To add insult to injury, Senator Schaefer doesn’t support efforts to fix the mess his bill created.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer stated last year that his Amendment 5 would not lead to violent felons getting their guns back. Recently, he suggested the newly proposed legislative fixes are unnecessary. Instead, he suggested the appeals courts could fix it.

 

This is leadership? Pass laws that bring you some political benefit, even if they pose a danger to the public. Then hope the courts fix them.

Peters Baker is calling on the Missouri General Assembly to fix the language in Schaefer’s poorly written gun measure.

Here’s what should happen: Legislators should send back to voters a new constitutional amendment that fixes the mess they created. This time, they should be mindful that words matter. They must make certain we keep guns away from truly dangerous criminals.

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