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Judge Won't Block Controversial Missouri Law Invalidating Federal Gun Restrictions

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson shows off HB85, which he signed inside Frontier Justice gun shop in Lee's Summit, Mo., on Sat., June 12. The bill prevents local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun laws.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson shows off HB85, which he signed inside Frontier Justice gun shop in Lee's Summit, Mo., on Sat., June 12. The bill prevents local and state law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun laws.

A Cole County judge on Friday refused to block a new state law that declares certain federal gun laws invalid and threatens financial penalties on law enforcement agencies that enforce them.

Circuit Judge Daniel Green sided with the state in a lawsuit filed jointly by St. Louis city and county that argued the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause and will hinder law enforcement’s ability to deter crime.

The law in question — set to go into effect Aug. 28 and dubbed the “Second Amendment Protection Act” by legislators — declares that when “the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the Constitution of the United States, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

It then states that federal gun laws adding special taxes on firearms, requiring registration or tracking of firearms, ammunition and accessories, or taking away guns from “law abiding citizens” cannot be enforced in the state. Missouri law enforcement agencies and officers face civil fines of up to $50,000 for cooperating with federal agencies to enforce the law.

The U.S. Department of Justice says the law has already undermined drug and weapons investigations, submitting an affidavit submitted to the court stating that a dozen state and local officers have withdrawn from participating in federal task forces at least in part because of the law.

The affidavit states that the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s information analysis center informed ATF it would no longer provide any investigative support, including background information on investigative targets.

Proponents of the law, including Gov. Mike Parson, have argued it is intended to push back against any effort by the federal government to tighten gun laws.

In his ruling, Green wrote that the plaintiffs pointed to at least two pending cases involving the new law, and thus, the constitutional issues raised should be “litigated (if at all) by each plaintiff in each separate case.”

This story was originally published in the Missouri Independent.

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