ST. LOUIS- Lawyers for the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri will be in a Cole County courtroom Thursday afternoon for a motion hearing over a new state law that hasn’t gone into full effect yet, but one which the Department of Justice says is already having a chilling impact on law enforcement.
At issue is House Bill 85, dubbed as the Second Amendment Preservation Act. The law, signed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson, “prohibits state and local cooperation with federal officials that attempt to enforce any laws, rules, orders, or actions that violate the Second Amendment rights of Missourians,” as his office said upon signing it June 14.
The law also allows for lawsuits against police agencies for violating Second Amendment rights with exposure of up to $50,000 per offense. A Ripley County man sued authorities over the summer claiming violations, but later withdrew the suit.
The U.S. Department of Justice voiced almost immediate concern in June, saying the state could not nullify federal laws.
The city and state filed suit seeking a preliminary injunction June 21.
The New York Times was first to report Wednesday that in a court filing, the Justice Department reinforced its belief that the new law is an attempt at nullification of federal law and that it “undermines law enforcement activities in Missouri, including valuable partnerships federal agencies have developed with state and local jurisdictions.” FOX2 has obtained the filings.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says in another that state and local partners have withdrawn from collaborative efforts with federal agencies:
- The Missouri State Highway Patrol withdrew three troopers from participation in any ATF Task Forces
- The Columbia Police department withrdrew four officers from particapation in an ATF Task Force
- The Johnson County Sheriff withdrew one deputy from participation in an ATF Task Force
- The O’Fallon Police department withdrew two officers with K-9s from particapation in an ATF Task Force
- The Sedalia Police department withdrew two officers from participation in an ATF Task Force.
The ATF filing also says that the Highway Patrol’s Missouri Information Analysis Center will no longer provide investigative support to ATF, citing the Second Amendment Preservation Act.
The Kansas City, Missouri Police department said it couldn’t go into details because it involved a specific case, but did say the department works with federal counterparts.
“We do work with ATF as well as our other federal partners regularly within the confines of federal state and local laws as applicable in any given situation,” the department said.
Supporters of the legislation, including Gov. Parson, have said that the intent of the law is to protect Second Amendment freedoms and not to interfere with law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal agencies.
“Yet again, Biden’s Department of Justice is attempting to infringe on Missourians’ Second Amendment rights. We have and will continue to vociferously defend those Second Amendment rights, while prosecuting violent crime through our Safer Streets Initiative,” a spokesman for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said Wednesday.