WASHINGTON – The Justice Department sued Missouri on Wednesday over the matter of the state gun lawThis discourages local officials from enforcing federal gun measures.
The act, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, is one of the harshest state gun rights bills in recent years. At least eight other states, including West Virginiarecently passed similar measures, but Missouri has by far the sharpest teeth: A provision allowing citizens to sue any local police agency for $50,000 each. cases where they can prove that their right to carry a gun was violated, as long as they don’t violate state law.
The department argues that the Missouri law, passed through the Republican-led legislature last spring, violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which prohibits states from overriding federal status.
“This act impedes criminal law enforcement activities in Missouri,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed in Kansas City federal court. “The United States will work to ensure that our state and local law enforcement partners are not penalized for doing their job to keep our communities safe.”
Biden administration officials have been threatening to file lawsuits for months. First, they took a stance in favor of a state lawsuit brought by local officials in the St. Louis last year, who claimed the law had prevented them from addressing the recent spike in gun violence.
The Missouri law, Justice Department lawyers said in the complaint, had “a harmful effect on public safety efforts in the state” by prompting state and local officials to withdraw federal and state task forces and sever their links to critical and ballistic crime. databases maintained by federal agencies.
The lawsuit comes two days after attorneys in the Missouri case began wrapping up their arguments before the state’s Supreme Court, and Republicans were quick to recommend the Justice Department case. is intended to preempt a possible loss in state court.
“Following their disastrous arguments in the Missouri Supreme Court last week, the Biden Department of Justice has now filed another partisan lawsuit seeking to attack Missouri’s Second Amendment rights,” said General. Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri, a Republican who supported the passage of the law.
“Make no mistake, the law is on our side in this case, and I intend to hit the Biden administration in court,” said Schmitt, who recently joined a large group of conservatives running for the Senate seat. The chamber is about to be vacated by longtime senator Roy Blunt.
But the measure has drawn fierce criticism from many law enforcement officials from all political walks – including Second Amendment purists, who say it jeopardizes public safety.
“It’s just a terrible written law,” said Sheriff Brad Cole, a Republican from Christian County in the state’s rural Ozarks, said last yearechoes the sentiments of other local officials.
In an affidavit filed in a state lawsuit in August, the special agent in charge of the Kansas City field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, reported that nearly a quarter of state enforcement officials and localities that worked directly with the agency – 12 out of 53 officers – withdrew from joint cooperation activities.
In addition, state and local agencies have begun limiting federal access to investigative resources they previously shared, including the Missouri Center for Information Analysis, the state crime and the Kansas City Police Department’s file system, he said.
Supporters of the bill have argued that the new law is constitutional and does not prohibit federal agents from operating in Missouri. They argued that it only prevented state and local law enforcement officials from working with such cases without clear evidence that their actions would not contribute to gun confiscation. from law-abiding citizens.
Governor Mike Parson, a former police chief, has suggested that the legislature review the law to address objections from law enforcement officials.
The Justice Department said it filed the lawsuit to assert a larger constitutional principle.
“A state cannot simply declare federal law null and void,” said Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/16/us/politics/missouri-gun-rights-law.html Department of Justice sues Missouri over its Gun Rights Law