Justice Dept.: Missouri governor can’t void federal gun laws

Jun 16, 2021, 6:02 PM | Updated: 7:13 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is warning Missouri officials that the state can’t ignore federal law, after the governor signed a bill last week that bans police from enforcing federal gun rules.

In a letter sent Wednesday night and obtained by The Associated Press, Justice officials said the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause outweighs the measure that Gov. Mike Parson signed into law Saturday. The new rules penalize local police departments if their officers enforce federal gun laws.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said the law threatens to disrupt the working relationship between federal and local authorities, they said in the letter, noting that Missouri receives federal grants and technical assistance.

“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Boynton wrote in the letter.

President Joe Biden has made gun control laws a priority of his administration, and the House has passed two bills requiring background checks on firearms sales and an expanded review for gun purchases, though they face a tough road in the Senate. But states, including Missouri, have increasingly worked to loosen gun laws, including abandoning requirements that people get training and pass background checks to carry concealed handguns.

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

Republican lawmakers who worked to pass the bill have said they were motivated by the potential of more restrictive gun laws in the Biden administration. But state Democrats have argued the law is unconstitutional and have predicted it would not pass a challenge in the courts.

The Justice Department argued in the letter that the state lacks the authority to shield any Missouri businesses or citizens from federal law or to prevent federal law enforcement officials from carrying out their duties.

Boynton said the bill “conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulation” and 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 Eric Schmitt, the state’s attorney general, clarify the law and how it would work in a response by Friday.

Six states have passed legislation removing or weakening concealed-carry permit requirements this year, most recently Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Wednesday. About 20 states now allow people to carry concealed weapons without a license. At least three other states have passed legislation banning police from enforcing federal gun laws, a preemptive shot at any new measures passed by Democrats.

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

AP

File-File photo shows view of pipe systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the...
Associated Press

Regulator urges Germans to prepare for possible gas shortage

BERLIN (AP) — Fearing Russia might cut off natural gas supplies, the head of Germany’s regulatory agency for energy called on residents Saturday to save energy and to prepare for winter, when use increases. Federal Network Agency President Klaus Mueller urged house and apartment owners to have their gas boilers and radiators checked and adjusted […]
5 hours ago
Soldiers wrap bodies of victims of a mudslide in Noney, northeastern Manipur state, India, Friday, ...
Associated Press

Rescuers recover 26 dead from mudslide in India’s northeast

GAUHATI, India (AP) — Fresh rain and falling boulders on Saturday hampered rescuers who have so far pulled out 26 bodies from the debris of a mudslide that wiped out a railroad construction site in India’s northeast, officials said. Rescue work is expected to continue for a couple of days in rugged hilly terrain with […]
5 hours ago
FILE -  A coal-fired power station in Witbank, South Africa , Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. South Africans...
Associated Press

South Africans struggle in the dark to cope with power cuts

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans are struggling in the dark to cope with increased power cuts that have hit households and businesses across the country. The rolling power cuts have been experienced for years but this week the country’s state-owned power utility Eskom extended them so that some residents and businesses have gone without power […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Virgin Orbit rocket carrying seven U.S. Defense Department satellites was launched from a special Boeing 747 flying off the Southern California coast and streaked toward space Friday night. The modified jumbo jet took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the […]
5 hours ago
Casper Byrd, right, of Bowling Green, sits with friends as they listen to various speakers share th...
Associated Press

Texas Supreme Court blocks order that resumed abortions

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court blocked a lower court order late Friday night that said clinics could continue performing abortions, just days after some doctors had resumed seeing patients after the fall of Roe v. Wade. It was not immediately clear whether Texas clinics that had resumed seeing patients this week would […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: July 2, Amelia Earhart disappears

Today in History Today is Saturday, July 2, the 183rd day of 2022. There are 182 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On July 2, 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight along the equator. On this date: […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Justice Dept.: Missouri governor can’t void federal gun laws