The Department of Justice (DOJ) warned Missouri Wednesday the state cannot disregard federal gun laws after the governor signed a bill prohibiting police from enforcing federal gun laws.
The DOJ cites the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution to claim “a state cannot nullify federal law,” according to a copy obtained by The Missouri Times. Under the clause, federal law preempts state law.
“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said in the letter. “We are concerned that, absent clarification, HB 85 threatens to imperil the longstanding and close cooperation between the Federal Government and law enforcement agencies in Missouri that seek to jointly combat violent crime in the state.”
“Numerous provisions of HB 85 raise significant federal law enforcement and legal concerns,” the letter continued. “In light of the significant public safety risks the law presents, the United States Department of Justice respectfully requests that you take action to clarify the scope of the law and respond to this letter by Friday, June 18.”
The DOJ notes the new law “threatens to immediately disrupt the working relationship between federal and state law enforcement officers.”
The department argues the state does not have the authority to prevent federal law enforcement officials from performing their job. (RELATED: 22 States Call On 9th Circuit To Uphold Ruling Striking Down California Assault Weapons Ban)
The “Second Amendment Preservation Act” nullifies federal gun laws relating to gun registration and the tracking of guns by domestic violence offenders, the Kansas City Star reported.
Under the legislation, local police are prohibited from helping federal agents from enforcing laws deemed “invalid” and prohibits the hiring of former federal agents who enforced the laws, according to the report.
Local police departments can be sued for up to $50,000 if they enforce a federal law, the Kansas City Star reported. Federal agents are still permitted to enforce federal laws, however.
Missouri’s HB 85 puts those in Washington D.C. on notice that here in our state we support responsible, law-abiding gun owners, and that we oppose government overreach and any unlawful efforts to limit our access to firearms. #2ndAmendment pic.twitter.com/T4qLJ8lKJR
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) June 12, 2021
Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s office acknowledged the legislation could hit some legal roadblocks, according to the Kansas City Star.
“The Governor is aware of the legal implications of this bill, but also that, now more than ever, we must define a limited role for federal government in order to protect citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Parson’s spokeswoman Kelli Jones reportedly said.
Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade called the legislation “radical” and “dangerous.”
“House Bill 85 is a radical, dangerous and obviously unconstitutional attempt to declare that Missouri will refuse to follow federal gun laws.”
#INBOX | 24 hours before @GovParsonMO is set to sign the Second Amendment Preservation Act, House Minority Leader @crystal_quade releases a statement saying the legislation “rewards criminals, punishes police.” #moleg #mogov pic.twitter.com/bWuHUQ3XMa
— Emily Manley (@EmilyManleyTV) June 11, 2021
The Associated Press obtained the letter first.