Biden administration sues Missouri over controversial gun-rights bills
The Biden administration is suing Missouri over its controversial gun-rights bills passed last year, which would allow citizens to sue state or federal agencies for $50,000 if they prove their Second Amendment rights were violated.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the lawsuit Wednesday, saying House Bill 85 violates the “Supremacy Clause, is preempted by federal law and violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.”
The Justice Department (DOJ) states in the lawsuit the law hurts cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement.
“The penalties associated with H.B. 85 have prompted state and local agencies and individuals within those entities to withdraw support for federal law enforcement efforts, including by not sharing critical data used to solve violent crimes and withdrawing from joint federal task forces,” the department wrote.
The DOJ also alleges federal authorities in the state have complained of difficulties in enforcing federal gun laws due to the law, as it effectively declares federal laws “invalid.”
“This act impedes criminal law enforcement operations in Missouri,” Garland wrote. “The United States will work to ensure that our state and local law enforcement partners are not penalized for doing their jobs to keep our communities safe.”
The Biden administration has opposed the law since its signing in 2021, with the DOJ telling a court the law was unconstitutional last August.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt released a statement after the department’s announcement defending the law.
“After their disastrous arguments in the Missouri Supreme Court last week, the Biden Department of Justice has now filed yet another partisan lawsuit that seeks to attack Missourians’ Second Amendment rights,” Schmitt said.
“My Office has fought to continue the initiative, but this initiative has been suspended solely because of the Biden Administration’s actions. Time and again, the Biden Administration has put partisan politics ahead of public safety. Make no mistake, the law is on our side in this case, and I intend to beat the Biden Administration in court once again,” he added.
The New York Times reports the bill has seen opposition from law enforcement officers across the political spectrum, with Republican Gov. Mike Parson saying those concerns should be addressed in the legislation.
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