Missouri gov, attorney general fire back at Biden DOJ over 'federal overreach' on 2nd Amendment rights

Gun rights shielded in Utah

Second Amendment defended amid liberals’ push for tighter controls on weapons. Chad Jensen and Mike Smith of the Utah Sheriffs Association speak out.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and and state Attorney General (AG) Eric Schmitt fired back on Thursday after the Justice Department (DOJ) sent a warning to the state over Parson’s recent bill he said protects residents’ Second Amendment rights.

“Missouri is not attempting to nullify federal law,” Parson and Schmitt wrote in a letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of DOJ’s Civil Division. “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.”

“Missourians’ and Americans’ Second Amendment rights are enshrined in the Constitution – I will defend those rights at every turn,” AG Schmitt said in a statement. “Our letter to Biden’s Department of Justice sends a clear message: we will fight any attempts from the federal government to encroach on Missourians’ Second Amendment rights.”

Schmitt announced he is running for Senate in March.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation limiting the during of local public health orders during a ceremony Tuesday, June 15, 2021, outside the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)

Governor Parson added, “The Second Amendment Preservation Act is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates.”

“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.”


In a letter sent Wednesday night and obtained by The Associated Press, Justice officials said the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause outweighs the measure that Parson signed into law Saturday. The new rules penalize local police departments if their officers enforce federal gun laws.

Boynton said the law threatens to disrupt the working relationship between federal and local authorities, they said in the letter, noting that Missouri receives federal grants and technical assistance.

“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Boynton wrote in the letter.

The Justice Department argued in the letter that the state lacks the authority to shield any Missouri businesses or citizens from federal law or to prevent federal law enforcement officials from carrying out their duties.

Boynton said the bill “conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulation” and federal law would supersede the state’s new statute. He said federal agents and the U.S. attorney’s offices in the state would continue to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations. He asked that Parson and Eric Schmitt, the state’s attorney general, clarify the law and how it would work in a response by Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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