Missouri responds defiantly to Justice Dept. over gun law

Jun 17, 2021, 2:24 AM | Updated: 4:49 pm

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican governor and attorney general said in a defiant letter to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday that they stand by the state’s new law that would ban police from enforcing federal gun rules.

Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote that they still plan to enforce the new law, which Parson signed Saturday. The measure penalizes local police departments if their officers enforce federal gun laws.

Schmitt and Parson wrote that they will “fight tooth and nail” to defend the right to own guns as spelled out in the state constitution and the new law.

“We will not tolerate any attempts by the federal government to deprive Missourians of this critical civil right,” they wrote.

In a letter sent Wednesday night and obtained by The Associated Press, Justice Department officials pointed out that federal law trumps state law under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

Brian Boynton, an acting assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in the letter that Missouri’s law threatens to disrupt the working relationship between federal and local law enforcement and noted that the state receives federal grants and technical assistance.

Missouri’s new law would subject law enforcement agencies with officers who knowingly enforce federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer.

Boynton said Missouri’s law “conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulation” and that federal law would supersede the state’s new statute. He said federal agents and the U.S. attorney’s offices in the state would continue to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations. He asked that Parson and Schmitt clarify the law and how it would work in a response by Friday.

Schmitt is running for U.S. Senate.

Republican lawmakers who pushed Missouri’s new law said they were motivated by the potential for more restrictive gun laws under Democratic President Joe Biden.

Republican Sen. Eric Burlison, of Battlefield, helped pass the bill and said he’s not aware of any federal gun laws currently enforced that are not also illegal under state law. But he said the legislation, HB 85, will prevent local law enforcement from enforcing any “wild ideas” later enacted under Biden.

“If this administration wants to go down a path of enforcing unconstitutional gun grabs, then our law enforcement officers, through HB 85, will not be lifting a finger to help them,” Burlison said.

State Democrats have argued the law is unconstitutional and will likely get overturned if challenged in court.

Similar bills were introduced in more than a dozen other states this year, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a so-called Second Amendment sanctuary.

Several states passed similar laws under then-president Barack Obama, though judges have ruled against them.

Prosecutors in Missouri’s attorney general’s office have withdrawn from nearly two dozen federal drug, gun and carjacking cases in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. They had been working with federal counterparts as part of the Safer Streets initiative that Schmitt touted in 2019.

Schmitt spokesman Chris Nuelle said in a statement that the Attorney General’s Office has been replacing prosecutors “as is the natural course in the Safer Streets Initiative.”

“We have been and continue to be committed to fighting violent crime, and we’re also committed to protecting law abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” Nuelle said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Netflix pays $59 million to settle tax dispute in Italy

MILAN (AP) — Netflix has agreed to pay more than 55.8 million euros ($59 million) and set up a legal entity in Italy to settle a tax dispute, Milan prosecutors said Friday. The payment covers taxes, penalties and interest from October 2015 through 2019. The streaming service also established an Italian subsidiary this year, which […]
1 day ago
President Joe Biden exits Air Force One as he arrives at Osan Air Base, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Py...
Associated Press

Secret Service workers for Biden Asia trip sent home

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Two U.S. Secret Service employees in South Korea to prepare for President Joe Biden’s visit have been sent home after being involved in a confrontation with locals that led to a police investigation. An agent and an armed physical security specialist were involved in the alcohol-fueled incident that included a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

India accuses China of illegal construction in border area

NEW DELHI (AP) — India on Friday objected to China’s construction of a second bridge across disputed Pangong Lake, an area it said has been under the “illegal occupation” of China since the 1960s. India’s challenge comes amid a two-year-old standoff involving thousands of soldiers from the two countries that has sometimes led to deadly […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Toddler dies after being found in vehicle at Tenn. daycare

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A 1-year-old child has died after being found in a hot vehicle outside a Tennessee daycare center, police said. The toddler was pronounced dead at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital on Thursday afternoon shortly after being found in the vehicle, Memphis police said in a tweet. The daycare, Education is the Key […]
1 day ago
Homeless people sleep at Patio do Colegio Square during a cold night in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil,...
Associated Press

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo hit by cold wave

SAO PAULO (AP) — In Rio de Janeiro, bold swimmers have been discouraged from diving into the cold ocean, while Sao Paulo authorities had to open up subway stations to accommodate homeless people as Brazil’s south experienced unusually low temperatures on Friday. Temperatures on Friday morning dropped below 23 Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius) in Santa Catarina […]
1 day ago
FILE - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio winks at someone during the Columbus Day Parade in New Yo...
Associated Press

Bill de Blasio, ex-NYC mayor, to run for redrawn House seat

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that he will run for Congress in a redrawn district that includes his Brooklyn home. De Blasio, whose second mayoral term ended last year, announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Missouri responds defiantly to Justice Dept. over gun law