The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are suing to block a new Missouri law that bars local authorities from enforcing federal gun laws, in a lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court on Monday.
Governor Mike Parson signed the law earlier this month, implementing a penalty of up to $50,000 on any law-enforcement officer who knowingly enforces federal gun laws. Republicans have praised the legislation as a potential shield if the Biden administration attempts to expand gun-control measures, and several other states have enacted similar legislation.
St. Louis County executive Sam Page and St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones, both Democrats, countered that the law could hinder efforts to curb gun violence.
“This new law is like the state holding out a sign that says, ‘Come Commit Gun Violence Here,’” Page said in a statement after the suit was filed.
The Justice Department warned Missouri officials that the state could not ignore federal gun statues, in a letter obtained by the Associated Press last week. Parsons and Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt responded that the law “is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates.”
The state 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,” Parsons and Schmitt wrote in a joint letter to the DOJ.
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