ST. LOUIS– St. Louis City and St. Louis County sue to block a new law that would ban police from enforcing federal gun rules. The joint suit was filed in Cole County and asks the court to declare the new law unconstitutional under the federal and state constitutions.
The Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 85) voids any federal gun laws and allows a person to sue a police department for up to $50,000 if an officer infringes on someone’s Second Amendment rights.
Days after Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill into effect, the Justice Department warned Missouri officials that the state can’t ignore federal law. In a letter sent to Governor Parson, Justice officials said the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause outweighs the measure that Gov. Mike Parson signed into law Saturday.
St. Louis City and County officials said in a statement about the suit that Missouri has some of the weakest gun regulations in the country and one of the highest rates of gun violence deaths per capita. The officials also say legislators passed HB 85 in an effort to prevent enforcement of federal gun laws in Missouri.
The officials say the new law has already disrupted law enforcement on local, state, and federal levels:
- The United States Department of Justice declared that the new law unconstitutionally interferes with federal law enforcement and threatens the ability of local police departments to access federal grants.
- The State of Missouri withdrew its prosecutors from assisting in federal drug, carjacking, and gun cases in St. Louis.
- A police chief in the St. Louis region resigned after Governor Parson signed the bill, noting that the new law will “chill the legitimate peacekeeping duties of police.”
St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page released the below statements on the suit.
“2020 was the deadliest year of gun violence in our state’s history, and now the Missouri legislature is throwing up barriers to stop police from doing their most important job —preventing and solving violent crime,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “This harmful and unconstitutional law takes away tools our communities need to prevent gun violence. I’m proud to partner with St. Louis County in this effort to protect our region and stop this law.”
“This new law is like the state holding out a sign that says ‘Come Commit Gun Violence Here,’” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “We can’t expect people to stay in St. Louis or to move their businesses here if we don’t do everything we can to reduce gun violence in the region, but this new law sends the opposite message to our residents and business community.”
A spokesperson from the Missouri Attorney General’s office said, “At the same time they’re attempting to defund the police, progressive politicians have filed this partisan lawsuit in an attempt to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Missourians. We will continue our efforts to prosecute violent crime, and we will not shy away from defending the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.”