Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) and Attorney General Eric Schmitt promised to “fight tooth and nail” for Missourians’ Second Amendment rights in a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Thursday.
The Missouri officials fired back at President Joe Biden’s DOJ after the federal government warned the state against penalizing state law enforcement officers who enforce certain federal gun laws. Parson signed a law June 14 holding law enforcement agencies liable for up to $50,000 per officer that violates Missourians Second Amendment rights in order to enforce federal gun laws.
“The Second Amendment Preservation Act is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates,” Parson said in a statement. “We will 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.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton sent a letter to Parson and Schmitt Wednesday night warning about enforcing the state law and superseding federal gun control laws. Boynton noted that the Missouri law may cost the state from receiving continued federal aid and assistance, according to The Associated Press.
“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Boynton wrote.
In their response to Boynton, Parson and Schmitt slammed the DOJ for “purposefully” leaking its letter to reporters and doubling down on its commitment to defend Missourians Second Amendment rights.
“Your letter purporting to ask for clarification of this important legislation, which was purposefully leaked to the news media, is riddled with a misunderstanding of the law and falsehoods. We will not stand by while the federal government tries to tell Missourians how to live our lives,” Parson and Schmitt wrote. “Missouri is not attempting to nullify federal law. Instead, Missouri is defending its people from federal government overreach by prohibiting state and local law enforcement agencies from being used by the federal government to infringe Missourians’ right to keep and bear arms.”
The Missouri officials later accused the Biden administration of hypocrisy for threatening to pull federal aid and assistance from the state.
“On his first day in office, President Biden rescinded President Trump’s executive order that prohibited federal grant awards to sanctuary jurisdictions that refused to cooperate with the federal government to enforcement immigration laws. In April, the Office of Justice Programs reportedly repealed the Department of Justice’s policy that required recipients of a law enforcement grant to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a condition of their funding,” they wrote.
“President Biden and the Department of Justice have decided to reward states and cities that refuse to cooperate with enforcing constitutional immigration laws that protect our citizens against foreign threats, but now they attack Missouri for refusing to cooperate with enforcing unconstitutional gun confiscation laws that put our citizens in danger and degrade their rights,” they said.
“We will fight tooth and nail to defend the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment, Article I, § 23 of the Missouri Constitution, and the Second Amendment Preservation Act. And we will not tolerate any attempt by the federal government to deprive Missourians of this critical civil right,” Parson and Schmitt concluded.