The St. Louis County Council is moving ahead with a bill that would subject County Police Commission nominees to background check. After the measure advanced Tuesday night, it could win final approval as soon as next week.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that council members dispatched County Executive Charlie Dooley's proposal aimed at forcing subcontractors to disclose potential conflicts of interest on county projects without a vote, effectively rejecting the measure.
Both bills grew out of the scandal that unfolded when former police board chairman Gregory Sansone's company was hired to subcontract on construction of a new crime lab. The FBI is currently investigating the matter.
If the background check measure passes, which could happen as soon as next week, it would take affect immediately.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois has awarded contracts for computer upgrades intended to screen out people prohibited from carrying concealed weapons under the state's new gun legislation.
The Springfield Journal-Register reports on two contracts totaling more than $350,000. The Illinois State Police is contracting with a division of Levi, Ray & Shoup of Springfield to automate the entry of names into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Department of Human Services is contracting with Levi, Ray & Shoup for help dealing with the new law's mental health reporting requirements.
The law gives the Illinois six months to create an application system and another three months to approve applications.
Earlier this month, Illinois became the last state in the nation to make it legal for people to carry concealed weapons in public.
A prominent, long-time St. Louis area gun rights advocate is giving up his lifetime membership in the NRA.
Adolphus Busch IV sent a letter to the National Rifle Association Thursday, asking them to immediately take his name off their roles.
In the letter, Busch wrote that he was resigning his membership because of the NRA’s stand on background checks, which he says is supported by a majority of NRA members. Busch cites NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre's support of background checks as "reasonable" in 1999 and questions the shift in position.
Busch also questions the organization's position on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Busch charges that the NRA has become a lobby organization for gun and ammo manufactures instead of gun owners.
Here is the content of Busch's letter to the NRA:
Adolphus A. Busch, IV
1600 Highway 79
O’Fallon, MO 63366
Delivered by UPS
April 18, 2013
Mr. David A. Keene
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
This letter shall serve as formal resignation of my life membership in the NRA. I ask that you immediately remove my name from your membership roles and provide me an acknowledgement of this action.
As most in your organization would admit, I have historically been a staunch defender of the NRA purpose and tradition in representing the interests of gun owners. I have personally devoted countless financial resources and time to nurture an intelligent environmental policy that provided for the proud tradition of personal hunting for generations to come.
It disturbs me greatly to see this rigid new direction of the NRA. As a starting point, one only has to ask why the NRA reversed its original position on background checks. Was it not the NRA position to support background checks when Mr. LaPierre himself stated in 1999 that NRA saw checks as “reasonable”? Furthermore, I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable. In fact, according to a Johns Hopkins University study, 74% say they support background checks.
I am simply unable to comprehend how assault weapons and large capacity magazines have a role in your vision. The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established. Your current strategic focus places a priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.
One only has to look at the makeup of the 75-member board of directors, dominated by manufacturing interests, to confirm my point. The NRA appears to have evolved into the lobby for gun and ammunition manufacturers rather than gun owners.
In closing I find it important to extend my personal thanks to Chris Cox and David Lehman for their support of so many important environmental issues. I will miss that level of friendship and support, but must take this action based upon my personal feelings toward the distorted values I see emerging within the NRA.
Adolphus A. Busch, IV
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says she's "furious" after senators on Wednesday blocked legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers.
Giffords is accusing senators who opposed new gun regulations of "cowardice," saying their decisions are "based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association."
The former Arizona congresswoman's remarks were published on The New York Times' op-ed page Wednesday. She has become a vocal gun control supporter since she was shot in the head at a rally near Tucson two years ago.
The proposal to expand background checks fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. An attempt to ban assault-style rifles failed as well, along with a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The private talks involve liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a National Rifle Association member and one of the Senate's more moderate Democrats.
On the Republican side, participants are Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, another NRA member and one of the more conservative lawmakers in Congress, and moderate Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The NRA says expanding background checks would do little good because criminals largely get their guns illegally.