The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 21, 2014

Our View: Gun bills are bad policy

Lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas are creating real problems from perceived threats. In Missouri, legislators are pushing a bill that would nullify federal gun laws and punish federal agents enforcing those laws with jail time and fines of up to $1,000.

Turning federal agents into criminals and making them choose between doing their sworn duty and risking criminal prosecution is bad law.

We support the right of Americans to own guns, but this bill is unlikely to survive a court challenge, so it’s in effect nothing but a protest bill, but a protest against what? A ginned-up fear that jack-booted federal agents will drop from black helicopters, kick in doors and confiscate guns?

We don’t see that happening.

A second component of the bill would allow certain school personnel to carry concealed weapons. In other words, the solution to the epidemic of school shootings is to allow more people to carry more guns. A better solution is allowing — but not mandating — schools to hire an armed and trained police officer to staff schools when class is in session.

In Kansas, meanwhile, a bill would restrict the rights of cities and counties to pass and enforce local ordinances governing the purchase, sale, ownership, storage, carrying or transporting of firearms and ammunition.

Kansas last year passed its Second Amendment Protection Act, claiming the federal government had no authority to regulate guns or ammunition made, sold or kept in Kansas. It also banned federal agents from attempting to enforce those laws.

Again, we’re not seeing local governments acting in ways that undermine the rights of gun owners, so this is more overreaction.

While all Americans — at the local, state and federal level — need to work together to ensure Second Amendment rights, these bills are bad public policy.

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