Missouri Prosecutor Dubs Republican Bill “Make Murder Legal Act”

A bill that is making its way through the Missouri state legislature has sparked outrage for its possible consequences, which, critics say, would all but make murder legal in the state.

Missouri Senate Bill 666 is being described by its Republican sponsor as an effort to loosen gun laws in the state, but a top prosecutor in Missouri has said the bill — if it is enacted — would shield killers from prosecution if they claim defense.

The proposed bill “would establish a presumption that individuals who use force against another person reasonably did so in order to defend themselves.”

This means that police looking to charge someone with murder after shooting someone would have to prove that the individual did not act in self-defense, whereas current law places the onus on defendants to prove that they acted in self-defense.

A former state congressional candidate has suggested that the legal “lynching of Black men” would ensure if the Missouri General Assembly advances the bill.

“Senate Bill 666 makes Missouri a safe haven for the lynching of black men,” Lindsey Simmons, who was a candidate for Missouri congress in 2020, wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

“That this bill is in direct response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the reckless actions of the McClosky’s + the sham that was the Rittenhouse trial there is no doubt,” Simmons added.

Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, a Republican, blasted the bill as effectively being the “Make Murder Legal Act,” according to local news outlet KFVS.

Oliver said making the bill a law “would absolutely create chaos in the state of Missouri” and “automatically have the presumption of self-defense in every single assault, every single murder.”

St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Lohmar, another Republican, delivered a similarly scathing assessment of the bill.

“Anybody who uses a weapon to murder another individual, or to kill another individual, if they claim self-defense, the law enforcement potentially is handcuffed from even arresting that person,” he said. “This bill takes that decision of self-defense essentially away from the jury and applies a different legal standard and it basically relies upon a court to make that decision in advance of the jury ever hearing all the evidence.”

Others opposing the measure were Mark Bruns, a lobbyist for the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police and the St. Louis Police Officers Association, and Nimrod Chapel, president of the Missouri NAACP.

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