This is big. Not long ago the state of Missouri passed a “Second Amendment Preservation Act” that nullfies any federal law that the state decides violates the 2nd Amendment, which would probably be just about anything. Now St. Louis city and county are suing to block implementation of the law.
The county and city say the law is confusing and would prevent state and local cops from working with federal law enforcement. There are ongoing joint federal-city task forces at work addressing the gun violence problem, and the wording of the bill complicates that work. Can federal officers such as ATF agents operate in Missouri at all? It’s not clear. Someone on the television news last night said that the law would not stop federal agents from enforcing state law, but they couldn’t enforce federal law.
From KSDK, St. Louis:
The law would subject law enforcement agencies with officers who knowingly enforce federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer. It also states that any federal laws, executive orders or other federal regulations to track or take away firearms from law-abiding citizens will be considered void in Missouri, the Associated Press reported.
The law prevents local or state police agencies from enforcing federal laws deemed unconstitutional. It subjects agencies to a $50,000 fine if an officer violates the law. The same fine applies if an agency hires an officer who previously violated the Missouri law as a federal agent.
Critics have said the law will negatively affect working relationships with the federal government, including on anti-crime task forces. They also say the law will effectively defund the police by subjecting them to the fines.
States cannot nullify federal law. This was a matter settled back in 1832, during the Andy Jackson administration, you might recall. But note:
[Govenor] Parson and [Attorney General] Schmitt argued that Missouri “is not attempting to nullify federal law” but was instead “defending its people from federal government overreach by prohibiting state and local law enforcement agencies from being used by the federal government to infringe on Missourians’ right to keep and bear arms.”
Yeah, that makes no sense at all. I haven’t been able to find the text of the bill online, but one of the sponsors says “The Second Amendment Preservation Act declares all federal laws, rules, orders or other actions which restrict or prohibit the manufacture, ownership and use of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition exclusively in Missouri will not be enforced by state law enforcement, state municipal officials and other state officials.” How is that not nullification? Especially if federal law enforcement isn’t allowed to enforce federal law, either?
See also the U.S. Constitution, Article VI, second paragraph.
In 2017 the state eliminated any restriction on carrying firearms. You don’t even need a permit. We’ve got “stand your ground” and the works here now. After that law went into effect in January 2018, the rate of gun violence in the state shot up. Since then St. Louis has become a shooting gallery. Every single blasted day there are news stories about gun fights or drive by shootings or what not. Even small children get killed.
One would think that any judge knows enough law to see how blatantly unconstitutional the “protection act” is. But now the bench has been stocked with incompetent Trump judges. So who knows?
See also Red State, Blue City.