Kansas City, St. Louis mayors take aim at state gun bill

04/25/2014 3:13 PM

04/27/2014 5:56 PM

We are the mayors of Missouri’s two largest cities — Kansas City and St. Louis. We represent more than one out of every eight Missourians. Our communities are the centers of metropolitan regions that constitute Missouri’s two greatest economic powerhouses.

We have taken solemn oaths of office. We have pledged to support the Constitution of the United States and to faithfully discharge the duties of our offices.

These duties mainly have to do with keeping our communities safe and well, being good stewards of public resources, working to preserve and create good jobs, rewarding business innovation, meeting the educational needs and creating opportunities for our children, celebrating and promoting our rich cultural, architectural, historical and artistic resources, keeping an eye out for our seniors and extending a helping hand to those in need, welcoming new immigrants, and otherwise working toward just and vibrant and sustainable communities that embrace diversity and welcome and create opportunity for all.

A divided Missouri House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 1439. It purports to “preserve” rights to carry and keep firearms.

The Missouri and United States constitutions speak to such rights. They are legitimate subjects of legislative attention and public debate.

The same holds true for the authority and responsibilities of our federal and state governments. Reasonable people can differ on questions of the limits and scope of the authority of each and which is best suited to meet public responsibilities.

Americans have been debating these issues since the dawn of our republic. House Bill 1439 moves well beyond the boundary of reasonable debate. It is an affront to our communities. It is an embarrassment to the state of Missouri.

Simply put, House Bill 1439 represents a reckless attempt by narrow ideological interests to coerce us and other law abiding local officials into violating our oaths of office. The bill, if enacted, would do little to preserve legitimate gun ownership rights.

It would do much to undermine the freedom of the people we represent and to threaten the stability of the communities we serve. We will not be coerced.

House Bill 1439 seeks to intimidate local officials into disregarding settled interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and into violating federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes or ordinances. We will not be intimidated.

House Bill 1439 would make it illegal for our police officers and local prosecutors to work with federal agencies in efforts to reduce gun violence in our cities. State lawmakers would empower street thugs and highway snipers, authorizing them to file lawsuits and recover attorneys’ fees against police and prosecutors who work with federal authorities to keep our communities safe.

We will defend our police and prosecutors and federal partners. We will not cower to political extremists. We will keep our communities safe.

Missouri lawmakers also take an oath of office. They solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

A violation of their oath forever disqualifies them from “holding any office of trust or profit in this state.”

We intend to abide by our oaths. We expect Missouri’s lawmakers to abide by theirs.

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