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Gov. Parson responds to southeast Mo. law enforcement concerns with Second Amendment Preservation Act

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri’s governor responds to some law enforcement concerns with the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act.

So far, two sheriffs, four police chiefs and two prosecutors in southeast Missouri have all told us the language in the law prevents them from working any weapons case with a federal agency.

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Now, Governor Mike Parson, a former sheriff, said nothing should stop state and federal agencies from working together.

“The goal is to take bad people off the streets. And we don’t want to hinder that process,” he said.

Governor Parson answered questions about the Second Amendment Preservation Act after speaking at a police officers’ memorial prayer breakfast in St. Charles on Tuesday.

“You’re going to have to work with federal partners,” he said. “And you’re going to have to work with other agencies. And we’ve got to make sure that can happen.”

He called SAPA a political statement, not an effort to impact local police departments.

“I think it’s much more of a political issue, that statement was, I believe in the state of Missouri,” he said. “It was basically with the new change of administrations. Some of the things said on the political front was that people are going to protect the Second Amendment in this state. And I think that was more of a statement, by far, that they were saying to the President and his Administration. Far more than they were to local police departments. But, I think there’s a way to work forward through that. I think we all need to understand. When you look at Operation Legend. When you look at operations, joint that we have done together. Something that I have been a career with. Law enforcement has to work together to be successful. And we’re going to find a way to do that.”

Southeast Missouri law enforcement leaders say language in the Act keeps them from working with their federal partners on violent crimes involving weapons.

“We know these programs work when we did partnerships with them,” the governor said of those federal partnerships. “We’ve just got to figure out how to move forward on this without causing any problems for the local level or the federal agencies either.”

When asked if SAPA needs to be revised or even rewritten, the governor had this response: “Look, I’m not going to go down that road until I talk to law enforcement and really get that feedback and see what the problems are. And then we can see if we can make adjustments. I’ll go back to what I said originally, I don’t think anyone here is wanting to hinder law enforcement from doing the job of taking bad guys off the street. And that’s exactly what we want to do every day. And if that means partnering with other agencies, we’re more than willing to do that. I am as governor.”

That call for feedback drew an immediate response from the local law enforcement leaders who’ve raised concerns about SAPA.

Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver had this to say on Thursday, September 23:

“This is the common-sense solution that I would expect from Governor Parson. With Governor Parson’s leadership, I am confident, that we can continue to protect our citizen’s 2nd Amendment rights and make changes to SAPA that will untie the hands of law enforcement in prosecuting the most violent and dangerous criminals on our streets.”

Oliver said he’ll be reaching out to Governor Parson’s office in the coming days to request a meeting on SAPA.

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