Is MO's Second Amendment Preservation Act Good For Criminals?

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

The state of Missouri took a huge step toward becoming the most pro-gun state in the nation when they passed the Second Amendment Preservation Act. After all, it nullified all federal gun control laws with the state’s borders.

While it remains to be seen if the law will pass constitutional muster in the long term, it definitely made a splash in the short term.

However, is the law actually beneficial to the resident of Missouri? Some there seem to believe it’s not.

On Sunday, 60 Minutes’ Norah O’Donnell examined Missouri’s controversial Second Amendment Preservation Act, or SAPA for short. The new pro-gun law claims to invalidate all federal gun control laws and prohibits state and local cooperation with enforcement of those laws. Local law enforcement who infringe on the right to bear arms are subject to a $50,000 penalty. Several members of law enforcement oppose the new legislation and surprisingly, so do some gun enthusiasts.

Butler County prosecuting attorney Kacey Proctor supports people of all ages responsibly enjoying guns but he also thinks SAPA benefits criminals more than it does law enforcement.

Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley is one of many officers who oppose the new law. Without the aid of the federal government, he believes local investigators lack the data systems and resources to apprehend and prosecute criminals on gun charges.

“Several policemen and sheriffs that we’ve spoken to have told us they think that this law benefits criminals,” O’Donnell told Whiteley. “Is that too strong of a statement?”

“No,” Whiteley said confidently. “[I] don’t think it does, I know it does.”

It should be noted that the only “gun enthusiast” quoted in Proctor, who owns a number of firearms.

But the big question here is whether Whiteley and Proctor are right. Is this empowering criminals more than it does law enforcement? It might.

After all, if a known felon is walking down the street with an actual machine gun, local law enforcement may well be stymied in how to deal with such a thing. This is someone they know is breaking multiple laws, but unless they’re seen committing some non-gun control crime, they’re powerless to do anything about it.

So I suppose it’s certainly possible that things like that are happening.

However, that’s also a ridiculous outlier that I manufactured for the sake of presenting a scenario. The odds of that actually happening are slim to none and we all know it.

Yet I have to admit there are much less ridiculous examples that are probably happening fairly often, such as finding a known felon in possession of a handgun and being unable to do anything about it. Especially since Missouri is a constitutional carry state.

The question that needs to be asked, though, from the political side is whether this is a net win or a net loss for Missouri. Are people in the state freer than they were before? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. Are we seeing more crime that we can really ascribe to the Second Amendment Preservation Act? Not really.

So I fail to see how a few comments from law enforcement types really warrants any concern about the law.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET