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St. Louis city, county sue to block new Missouri gun law

Missouri capitol
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 18:19:39-04

O'FALLON, Mo. — St. Louis and adjoining St. Louis County have filed a lawsuit seeking to block Missouri’s new law barring state and local authorities from enforcing federal gun laws.

The suit filed Monday argues that the Republican-backed law would increase the risk of gun violence. It seeks an injunction to halt enforcement of the law and to overturn it on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which established that federal law trumps state law.

The new law would subject law-enforcement agencies with officers who knowingly enforce any federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer.

Jackson County Executive Frank White said in a letter to the Jackson County Legislature Monday afternoon that he supports the lawsuit, citing its "unconstitutionality," as well as safety risks.

"House Bill 85 severely hinders law enforcement agencies' ability to regulate firearms in such a way that keeps those firearms in the hands of responsible citizens and keeps them out of the hands of those with lesser intentions," White said in the letter. "Now, more than ever, and given the increase in gun violence we are seeing in our communities statewide and nationally, it is essential for law enforcement to have the power to track and regulate firearm use, the information from which provides them with an investigative tool to identify suspects in crimes and also potentially prevent crimes from even occurring."

Republican backers said they were motivated by the possibility that gun restrictions could be tightened under the Biden administration.

41 Action News contributed to this report.