The Biden Justice Department is warning Missouri lawmakers that the state’s new gun law is unconstitutional.
The department on Wednesday filed a statement of interest in a court case challenging the law, known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which bars state and local officials from enforcing any laws or actions that violate Missourians’ Second Amendment rights.
In its 27-page filing, the DOJ argues that the law appears to be an attempt by the state to supersede federal laws.
“It purports to nullify certain federal firearm laws, prohibits enforcement of those federal firearm laws, and imposes civil monetary penalties on political subdivisions and state law enforcement agencies that enforce, or assist in the enforcement of, those federal firearm laws,” the department said.
Officials say it amounts to a violation of the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which bans states from nullifying federal laws.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed the bill into law on June 14. He said it shows his commitment to “to 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.”
The governor said the law “puts those in Washington, D.C., on notice that here in Missouri we support responsible, law-abiding gun owners, and that we oppose government overreach and any unlawful efforts to limit our access to firearms.”
Anyone who knowingly violates the state law, according to the statute, could be subject to a $50,000 fine.
It is set to go into effect later this month, but the DOJ claims the new law is already impeding efforts to promote public safety by interfering with partnerships among law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels.
“Among other things, the new law prohibits local law enforcement from participating in federal task forces and purports to ban local police from enforcing federal gun laws,” the department said.
The federal government, officials say, has “strong interests” in an injunction against the law, which they argue is necessary to preserve partnerships among law enforcement agencies at all levels.
The statement was filed in a suit against the state brought by the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County. It comes ahead of a hearing in the case scheduled for Thursday at the Cole County Circuit Court.