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Justice Department Sues Missouri to Prevent Gun Law Restriction 

February 17, 2022 by Reece Nations
<strong></img>Justice Department Sues Missouri to Prevent Gun Law Restriction </strong>
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to prevent Missouri from enforcing a state law it says hinders the enforcement of federal firearm laws.

The DOJ’s complaint, filed in federal court in Jefferson City, Missouri, contends the law contradicts five specific categories of federal gun law. Under the Missouri law signed by Gov. Mike Parson in June 2021, the prohibition of gun ownership by some felons and the mentally ill, orders for firearm confiscation and registration laws are invalidated, according to the text of the DOJ’s complaint.

“After their disastrous arguments in the Missouri Supreme Court last week, the Biden Department of Justice has now filed yet another partisan lawsuit that seeks to attack Missourians’ Second Amendment rights,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, the Biden DOJ has used this lawsuit as a pretext for them to pull the plug on our successful and innovative federal-state crime fighting partnership, the Safer Streets Initiative.”

Schmitt continued, “My office has fought to continue the initiative, but this initiative has been suspended solely because of the Biden administration’s actions. Time and again, the Biden administration has put partisan politics ahead of public safety.”

The department wrote in the complaint that Missouri’s gun law discriminates against federal agencies, impairs law enforcement efforts in the state and contravenes the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause forbids state governments from enacting laws that conflict with pre-established federal law.

Parson signed the bill, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, in a Kansas City-area gun store and shooting range, and said it countered federal overreach and prevented unlawful efforts to limit citizens’ access to the weapons. The law allows Missouri citizens to sue state or federal agencies for as much as $50,000 if they can prove in court their Second Amendment rights were violated.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement accompanying the DOJ’s announcement of the lawsuit that the law obstructs criminal law enforcement operations in the state and penalizes state and local law enforcement partners for doing their jobs. Philip Dupuis, the former police chief of O’Fallon, Missouri, announced his resignation days after the law was enacted, citing the bill’s vague wording and its potential unintended consequences.

“A state cannot simply declare federal laws invalid,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a written statement. “This act makes enforcement of federal firearms laws difficult and strains the important law enforcement partnerships that help keep violent criminals off the street.”

Reece can be reached at reece@thewellnews.com

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