In what may be the first shot fired in the coming gun-control wars between states that support the Second Amendment and Joe Biden’s Justice Department, Missouri Governor Mike Parson and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt received a letter from DoJ warning them that the bill the governor just signed into law — The Second Amendment Preservation Act — may violate the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which gives the federal government the power to nullify any law they say conflicts with our founding document.
“The Second Amendment Preservation Act is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates,” Parsons wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.
“We will reject any attempt by the federal government to circumvent the fundamental right Missourians have to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their property. Throughout my career, I have always stood for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and that will not change today or any day.”
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 Parson signed into law Saturday. The new rules penalize local police departments if their officers enforce federal gun laws.
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.
Gee…where have we heard that before?
In truth, the new law probably doesn’t pass Constitutional muster. You can’t threaten police officers with large fines if they enforce federal law.
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.
Yes, the threat is similar to threats made to sanctuary cities and states during the Trump years. Similar, but not the same. Sanctuary cities actually rely on Supreme Court precedent, which says that cities and states don’t have to do the jobs of federal immigration authorities. Of course, cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles stretch that rule to the breaking point, going so far as to prevent their own law enforcement agencies from assisting ICE in holding illegal aliens.
But court challenges so far have been fruitless. With no precedent backing up Parson, if the state tries to enforce the law and arrest local police for obeying federal law, it’s not likely to stand up in federal court.