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Mo. chiefs file lawsuit to clarify Second Amendment Preservation Act

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:40 PM CST
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - The new year finds Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act targeted with new legal action.

This time, the City of Arnold is leading the effort to clarify SAPA, and several Heartland police chiefs are lending their names to the effort.

“Sometimes you just got to, as the old saying goes, ‘stand up and testify.’”

That’s why Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley added his name to the latest legal effort to clarify the Second Amendment Preservation Act.

“When you have multiple law enforcement agencies say it needs to be fixed, they have to pay attention to it,” he said.

“The SAPA legislation is unclear, and right now there’s a lot of questions in law enforcement,” said Charleston Department of Public Safety Chief Robert Hearnes. “It’s really had a dampened effect on law enforcement over the last few months.”

Whiteley and Hearnes joined dozens of other chiefs in filing court documents to support the lawsuit filed on January 5 in a Jefferson County court.

It seeks to clarify the language in SAPA to allow local departments to continue working with federal agencies to target violent criminals and the weapons they use, while still protecting the gun rights of law-abiding Missourians.

“MO Chiefs asked if I would participate and I said ‘yes’ because my responsibility is to my community.”

Sikeston Department of Public Safety Chief James McMillen said he’s also concerned about SAPA’s $10,000 fine and its impact on morale. Meantime, he’s not willing to take the chance of trying to send gun cases to federal court to seek longer sentences.

“If you charge them through the state for these gun crimes, you’re talking about the difference of months versus years,” he said.

Now, these chiefs are dedicated to working on a solution in 2022 that better targets community safety.

“We’re looking for some basic answers about what we can do with the Feds,” Hearnes explained. “How they can help us. We can help them.”

“We’re putting the public in danger. We’re putting officers in danger. And it needs to be fixed.”

We reached out to Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Office for comment on the lawsuit.

We have not heard back.

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