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More State Lawmakers Seek To Stop Police From Enforcing U.S. Gun Laws

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

A 2021 Missouri law banning law enforcement from enforcing federal gun laws has been challenged in court and questioned by police chiefs. The law has failed to gain the backing of the National Rifle Association.

This year, it is being copied, reports the Wall Street Journal. Lawmakers in Iowa, Ohio, Georgia and other states are weighing nearly identical bills, despite criticism that such laws would be unconstitutional. Supporters say the bills are meant to stop law enforcement from helping the federal government apply gun restrictions, citing a January rule that limits the use of pistol braces designed to stabilize pistols while firing. Such braces were used by shooters who killed 10 people in Boulder, Col., in 2021 and nine in Dayton, Oh.,, in 2019. Law-enforcement officers shouldn’t have to do government “dirty work” like enforcing vaccine requirements or the pistol brace rule, said Iowa state Rep. Jeff Shipley. He and others say the measure is a rejection of perceived federal overreach, and in the mold of cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. “I don’t see this as a liberal or conservative issue,” said Carroll County Attorney John Werden. “I see it as a states’ rights issue.” The Second Amendment Preservation Act has far-reaching consequences. Opponents say it and bills like it are expansive enough to strip law enforcement of needed federal help and funding on a range of issues. Iowa police departments could face 50,000 fines if they knowingly employ an officer who helps enforce federal gun laws. In Missouri, residents who think their rights have been impugned could sue for $50,000. The bills’ popularity stems in part from the the Biden presidency and pushback to pandemic restrictions like vaccine requirements and business closures. They come amid a fringe movement to shrug off federal laws and oversight. Some counties declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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