The Justice Department backed a legal challenge on Wednesday that aims to overturn a Missouri law protecting the state from federal gun control policies.
In a 37-page statement of interest, the DOJ urged a Missouri state judge to overturn the law, which “unconstitutionally” encroaches on federal regulatory power by making it illegal to enforce federal gun control restrictions, the filing states.
“The United States supports a declaration that HB85 is unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement,” attorneys for the DOJ wrote. “State legislators, who are bound by an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, have no power to ‘nullify federal statutes passed in pursuance’ of the Constitution.”
The Missouri law, titled the Second Amendment Preservation Act, prohibits Missouri state and local enforcement agencies from enforcing federal gun laws.
Departments that violate this law could be fined up to $50,000.
“The purpose of the bill is to stand up to the federal government,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said in June when he signed the bill into law.
Shortly after Parson signed off on the law, the DOJ sent a memo to Missouri state officials warning that the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause outweighed the law.
“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton claimed.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt responded by vowing to “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.”
“Throughout my career, I have always stood for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and that will not change today or any day,” Parson added.