Three indictments filed in August and September in the St. Louis, Missouri, area have resulted in the filing of weapons and drug charges against 25 local residents. The defendants are accused of felony crimes in connection with the operation of a methamphetamine distribution ring, which prosecutors allege dates back to Oct. 2010. Several people who were indicted are members of the same motorcycle group, the Saddle Tramps Motorcycle Club.

News outlets report that the indictments come at an appropriate time. Even as the methamphetamine ring members are facing criminal charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis released a statement opposing the expansion of gun rights for individual citizens. That office is formally speaking out against a measure that would make it a misdemeanor for federal officials to infringe upon Missourians' rights to bear arms. That bill would ban the practice of publishing the names of gun owners, along with lowering the age restriction for concealed weapons and allowing select school personnel to be armed.

The measure is relevant because if it were in place today, the defendants who were just indicted would be able to sue the law enforcement officers associated with the case. The bill would give extra legal protection to local residents accused of crimes, along with providing more freedom for the general public. The bill passed through the Missouri legislature, but the governor vetoed the measure. Now, an override vote is being considered to negate the governor's actions.

Those named in the indictment range in age from 27 to 66. All but one of the defendants hail from the St. Louis region. One is from Texas. It is not clear whether the actions to pass the contested bill will have an impact on the existing case against these defendants, but it could protect others accused of similar crimes in the future.

Source:  www.stltoday.com, "25 people charged in St. Louis with meth and weapons crimes" Joel Currier, Sep. 10, 2013