Some say Mo. gun rights amendment would be costly

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by Chris Stanford / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 25 at 5:22 AM

(KMOV) - Missouri voters will have an important and perhaps costly decision to make on August 5, regarding the state’s gun laws.

Constitutional Amendment 5 Reads: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?

State and local governmental entities should have no direct costs or savings from this proposal. However, the proposal’s passage will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice related costs. The total potential costs are unknown, but could be significant.”

Supporters of the amendment want more legal protection for carrying concealed weapons and protecting their families. 

There’s been a great deal of arguing on how much changing the constitution would cost. Missouri Auditor Thomas Schweich released a report on the potential cost of passing the amendment, which includes a lengthy submission by former state budget officials and opponent of the measure Mark Reading. Reading claims the financial impact of passing the amendment for state and local agencies would be at least $243 million in 2016, needing funding for more security at state buildings as well as funding Missouri’s criminal justice system.

In the report, Reading said the state should be prepared for legal battles against fugitives and minors with guns, and upholding restrictions on carrying firearms near places like schools, hospitals and stadiums.

St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson Believes the indirect costs of passing the amendment would be significant.

“I think what it does is not only the stress it would put on the court system, but the stress and duress it would put on society on the whole,” said Dotson.

 

The measure’s sponsor, Republican State Senator Kurt Schaefer has said enforcing this new language in the state’s constitution may cost some, but nothing substantial.

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