Biden Administration Files Dubious Lawsuit Challenging Missouri’s Gun Sanctuary Law

Missouri Flag


This year has seen several red states (led by Montana) adopt “gun safety” laws. Many of these laws mirror immigration sanctuary laws that were previously passed by liberal states or cities. As liberal immigration sanctuary jurisdictions limit their employees’ cooperation in federal efforts to enforce restrictions on immigration, conservative gun sanctuaries also restrict state aid to federal agencies enforcing federal guns laws.

Conservative states are copying liberal’s sanctuary policies because they have repeatedly won in court against Trump Administration threats. In a 2019, I covered these cases in great detail. Texas Law Reviewarticle and a part for the Washington Post. Courts ruled in favor of the Constitution allowing states to block their officials from helping to implement federal law.

This history may have been a factor in the Biden Administration’s decision to leave the gunsanctuaries of conservative gun owners alone at first. However, this week the Justice Department filed an inadmissible lawsuit against H.B. The Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act, 85. It is similar to the Trump Administration’s attempt at challenging the California “Sanctuary State,” law. This was widely rejected by the courts. This new Biden suit deserves to be lost for the exact same reason.

Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown provides a detailed overview of Missouri’s law and the Justice Department suit against them:

H.B. H.B. 85 states that Missouri has rejected several federal gun provisions. It considers them to be an “infringement on the people’s right to keep, bear and arm themselves.” The following provisions are included: “any tax, levie, fee or stamp imposed onto firearms.

H.B. H.B. 85 directs state and local law enforcement to not cooperate with federal authorities to enforce these measures, and states that Missourians have the right to sue them if they do.

A second provision in the law prohibits any state or local authority from hiring people who have previously enforced the federal gun laws. Civil liability is also imposed at $50,000 per employee by the legal subdivision or enforcement agency.

According to the Justice Department’s complaint, “a state can lawfully refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement.” Indeed! It is not permissible for the federal government to “commandeer state officials” in order to enforce federal laws. This is the constitutional principle which led to Trump’s failure to challenge the California sanctuary law law.

In its decision in this case, Ninth Circuit stated that state sanctuary laws “may well hinder the federal government’s efforts to enforce immigration.” This frustration, regardless of California’s original policy, is acceptable. California can, according to the anticommandeering law, refrain from supporting federal efforts. H.B. also hinders federal gun laws enforcement efforts in Missouri, according to the Biden Justice Dept. 85 “H.B. 85 with the withdrawal of personnel
Federal Task forcesLimiting information shared with federal agencies In connection to federal firearm offenses

Restriction on assistance and information sharing California was the first to do this, and California courts justly declared that state law enforcement agencies are exempted from liability for such policies. The liberal goose is the same as the conservative goose!

By claiming H.B. 85 is more than denying aid:Federal regulations may be regulated by a state, but not direct.
authority. H.B. H.B. 85 is exactly this: It purports to nullify and interfere with discrimination against federal law.”

These accusations of “nullification”, also raised by Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were made in California. Biden AG Merrick Garland might be able to save money and time by recycling old briefs, press releases, and other materials from Sessions.

These nullification claims were incorrect back then as they are now. This is how I explained it:

John C.Calhoun was one of many who believed nullification could be used to safeguard slavery and other interests in southern states in the 19th century. The term meant the federal laws that were in effect in each state would not apply. The theory would not allow the states or federal authorities to enforce these laws if it was true. Liberal immigration sanctuaries, and conservative gunsanctuaries, are not preventing the federal government from enforcing the law. However, the laws still have force and the federal government is allowed to continue its pursuit of violators. Federal ICE agents are still able to pursue undocumented migrants in immigration sanctuaries. Federal ATF agents may still pursue those who have violated federal gun laws in Montana.

H.B. 85 does not prohibit the federal government from using its own resources and officials to investigate and prosecute suspected violators of federal gun laws in Missouri. The federal government can use its resources and officials to prosecute and investigate any suspected violation of the Missouri federal gun laws. H.B. 85 does not prohibit that. It is true that HB85 asserts that federal gun laws are in violation of the Constitution. The law does not instruct the state to hinder federal law enforcement efforts, but to simply refuse to help them. In particular, it states that federal gun regulations can be cited in five different categories. “Shall be null to This is the stateRecognizing a syllable shall be deemed unacceptable By this state, Specially rejected By this stateThese provisions shall not be applied By this state” (emphasis added). These restrictions are only for the state government and not federal officials. 

Missouri law is closest to actually restricting federal officers when it comes in the form of a clause that reads “No entity person, including any officer of public service or employee of this State or of any political subdivision. State shall be able to try to enforce federal laws or acts. Ordonnances, administrative or other orders, rules and regulations, statutes and ordinances which infringe the right to You can keep your arms and be armed as per section 1.420.When viewed within the context of other law (which is entirely about the operation of state and municipal governments), this language shouldn’t be taken as restricting state or local officials. But even if “[n]While “any person or entity” includes federal officials, it does not mean that federal employees are being penalized or prevented from enforcing the laws.

As with the assertion that certain types of federal gun laws are in violation of the Constitution, federal employees should not be restricted. H.B. They are not subject to any restrictions under H.B. A federal court might, however, rule that “no entity, person” is not constitutional insofar as it applies federal officials. However, H.B. could be upheld. 85. Although it would not make any difference in the actual operation of the law as such, it could alleviate anxieties regarding “nullification.”

The Justice Department also claims that H.B. The H.B. 85 prohibition on state and local governments from employing people who have previously been involved in the enforcement the Federal Gun Laws listed in the Act is a violation of intergovernmental immunity, which prohibits states from discriminating against federal governments or those with whom they deal.

In the California sanctuary-state case, this was also an issue. Intergovernmental immunity was not allowed to prevent a California law that required employers to inform workers about possible ICE raids. The Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of this provision.

Supreme Court clarified that “a state does not discriminate towards the Federal Government and all those with whom it contracts unless it treats another person better than it treats it.” Washington, 460 U.S. at 544–45. AB 450 is not designed to treat federal governments worse than any other; in fact, it has no effect on federal operations. Accordingly, the court of district found that AB 450’s provisions regarding employee notice do not infringe the doctrine of intergovernmental Immunity.

This reasoning is the same. H.B. 85 does not “regulate federal operations.” The 85 does not regulate federal operations at all. It restricts the ability of state and local government to hire former federal workers. It is not discriminatory that hinders the performance of federal employees. In fact, discrimination is only in relation to the careers that federal employees may choose to pursue. After You can quit federal employment.

As in California, I’d add that the notion of discrimination is not applicable in cases where the state treats federal agents and the federal government worse than similar actors. This simply because they are federal employees. Similar to what happened with the ICE operation affected by California’s gun legislation, there is no equivalent in private industry for federal enforcement of gun laws and therefore no state discrimination.

I do recognize, however that in California the court of district decided the opposite. You can read my critique here. However, this is not a matter that the Missouri court should address. The Missouri law, which does not target any federal law enforcement activities, rather than the California provision, merely restrains the state and local governments from hiring people who have previously been involved in these operations.

The Missouri case, like Trump’s attempts to destroy immigration sanctuaries in the Trump era, has wider implications than the laws involved. If the Justice Department is able to force Missouri into federal gun law enforcement assistance, other states or localities can be controlled. Missouri can refuse to hire ex-federal gun law enforcement personnel. This will allow other states to not block former federal employees who are involved in law-enforcement activities. TheyIt is abhorrent. For example, imagine a liberal country refusing to hire ex-Department of Homeland Security workers who are complicit with Trump’s brutal immigration enforcement policies such as the child separation.

It’s worth mentioning that the above points apply regardless of whether or not the federal gun laws are listed in H.B. 85 infringe the Second Amendment. The federal government cannot command the states to enforce these laws, even if they are completely constitutional.

The Biden suit against Missouri, which was filed by Biden, is as badly designed as other Trump Administration suits against blue immigration sanctuary sanctuaries. It should be dismissed for all the same reasons. Liberals who supported the creation of immigration sanctuaries in Missouri should consider what they might face in the next Republican administration.