Merrick Garland Notifies Missouri Republicans Of Federal Lawsuit


The U.S. Justice Department has sued Missouri leaders over a controversial firearms law in the state, which, as explained by The Washington Post, ‘rules that federal gun measures that don’t have an equivalent in state law are “invalid.”’ Federal weapons provisions that have been affected by the Missouri law cover areas including “weapons registration and tracking, as well as gun possession by some domestic-violence offenders,” the Post adds. The Justice Department itself observes in a press release that penalties tied to the law “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.”

Courses of action that are outlined in the law for instances when it’s violated include lawsuits for $50,000 at a time when private citizens believe their Second Amendment rights to have been violated by local authorities. The Justice Department is seeking to block enforcement of the arrogant law with its lawsuit; it’s also after a court declaration that “state and local officials may lawfully participate in joint federal task forces, assist in the investigation and enforcement of federal firearm crimes, and fully share information with the federal government without fear of H.B. 85’s penalties,” that press release explained. Among other points, the federal lawsuit claims that the law is invalid because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution — which puts federal actions above those of states in certain areas — and “violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity,” per that press release. As Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton put it, a “state cannot simply declare federal laws invalid.” Attorney General Merrick Garland added as follows about the situation:

‘This act impedes criminal law enforcement operations in Missouri. 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.’

Besides the allowance for lawsuits from private citizens over perceived violations of Missouri’s law, which was signed into being by the governor last June, the measure also “penalizes current federal employees by barring them from state employment if they enforced the purportedly invalid laws,” the Justice Department summarizes. With a wide-ranging federal workforce that stretches across the country, these measures could make employment more difficult for certain individuals who were just doing their legally outlined jobs. On one occasion, “US marshals preparing for an operation with local police to arrest a fugitive allegedly involved in drug trafficking faced a series of last-minute hurdles because of the law,” CNN explains — so these provisions continue to threaten efforts at ensuring public safety in the state of Missouri. Republicans often seem more interested in upholding concepts of gun rights than enacting tangible protections for members of the public.