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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment bolstering certain gun rights after a Democratic state senator blocked a vote for several hours.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City, stood Tuesday and read news reports about gun violence in her urban district. She says the Legislature should focus on legislation curbing violence in urban areas.

The amendment would declare gun rights "unalienable" and compel elected officials in Missouri to defend against any infringement on the right to bear arms. It would also allow people to use firearms in defense of their families.

The sponsor, Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, says his amendment responds to proposed gun restrictions in the federal government.

It needs one more vote before moving to the House, and would later need approval by Missouri voters.
Published in Local News
Missouri voters may be asked to amend the state Constitution to make prosecuting child sex offenders easier.

A 2007 Missouri Supreme Court ruling had banned prosecutors in child sex abuse cases from using "propensity evidence," which is often used to show a suspect has a proclivity to do the alleged crime. The ruling made Missouri the most restrictive state in the nation by banning such evidence as prior convictions.

Representative John McCaherty, a High Ridge Republican, filed a bill that would allow prosecutors to use prior convictions, along with findings by the state Children's Services Division indicating that sexual abuse of a child did occur, even if there were no charges filed.

The measure has already cleared the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
Published in Local News

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