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.
“I shoot once a week, at minimum,” said Proctor. “My kids shoot. My seven-year-old owns multiple firearms. I am all in favor of responsible people owning firearms, and raising their children to own firearms responsibly…What I oppose about [SAPA], and what I would ask for, to be looked at and possibly fixed, is the ability for law enforcement officers to interact with their federal partners, to go after people who are violent in nature and are committing crimes in our community.”
Poplar Bluff, Missouri 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.”
While cities like St. Louis have attempted to block the law, citing that it “curtails law enforcement officers’ ability to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute criminals.” Missouri State Representative Jered Taylor, who co-sponsored SAPA, is not prepared to make any concessions.
“Would you be willing to go back and say, ‘Okay, let’s take a look at the law and make the changes?’” O’Donnell asked him.
“I’m not willing to even consider that at this point,” Taylor said. “But of course, I’m always willing to work with law enforcement and, you know, better understand the way that they operate and what they do.”
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