Missouri Law Banning Police From Enforcing Federal Gun Laws Put On Pause By SCOTUS
On Friday, the Supreme Court hit pause on a Missouri law that would ban police from enforcing any federal gun law. Do these people not understand “…shall not be infringed”?
Kelsey Reichmann has the story.
WASHINGTON (CN) — A Missouri law banning police officers from enforcing federal gun laws will remain paused, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
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Justice Clarence Thomas was the sole noted dissenter to the high court’s order. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito respected the court’s denial but wrote to underscore their view of what the lower court’s order asked.
“With the understanding that the district court ‘prohibited’ only ‘implementation and enforcement’ of H.B. 85 by the state of ‘Missouri and its officers, agents, and employees’ and ‘any others in active concert with such individuals,’ I agree with the denial of the application for a stay under the present circumstances,” Gorsuch wrote.
Extending the injunction to other private parties not before the court would violate the power of the judiciary in Gorsuch’s view.
Missouri asked the justices to intervene in a fight over the enforcement of its pro-gun law aimed at targeting federal government firearm policies it opposes. A lower court said the law was unconstitutional because it usurped federal law.
The majority did not provide an explanation for denying the application.
The Second Amendment Preservation Act was passed by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature in 2021. The law not only abandons training requirements and background checks, but also places $50,000 fines on law enforcement agencies every time officers enforce any federal firearms laws.
“Like many states, Missouri has disagreements with the federal government about the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment — and thus how to interpret and enforce certain federal firearms statutes,” Missouri’s Solicitor General Joshua Divine wrote in the state’s application.
The Biden administration told the justices that Missouri’s law has disrupted the enforcement of federal law in the state. In one instance, the government says officers pulled out of an ongoing joint federal-state fugitive operation because a firearm was discovered.
“The act has caused serious, tangible harms to the United States and to the public,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in the government’s brief. “By disqualifying federal employees from state employment for enforcing certain federal laws, the Act seeks to undermine their willingness to enforce those laws. More broadly, the Act has severely disrupted the federal government’s enforcement of federal law in Missouri, including its ability to apprehend dangerous criminals.”
Missouri argues its law only attempts to follow the high court’s shift on Second Amendment jurisprudence in recent years. In 2022, the justices issued a landmark ruling changing the standard to review gun law’s compliance with the Second Amendment. The state says its law aims to better enforce this ruling.
The Biden administration said the state can not just nullify federal laws as it pleases.
“The Missouri Legislature is free to express its opinions about the Second Amendment, and it is also free to prohibit state and local officials from assisting in the enforcement of federal law,” Prelogar wrote. “But it is not free to purport to nullify federal statutes; to direct state officials and courts to treat those statutes as invalid and to protect against their enforcement; or to regulate and discriminate against federal officials enforcing those statutes.”
The Justice Department intervened in the case after the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County sued to block enforcement of the law.
A judge agreed to do so, finding the law unconstitutional. The Eighth Circuit refused to grant the state relief.
The Supreme Court’s order follows the lower courts, keeping the law paused.
Frankly, Missouri should ignore the courts as they are to uphold the US Constitution, not the whims of judges in the matter.
Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media