Feds: Missouri gun law poses `clear and substantial threat’

KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Missouri law forbidding local police from enforcing federal gun laws is hampering efforts to protect the public, federal authorities said. A blistering court brief filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice outlines multiple examples. The brief said that after an Independence police officer was killed in a shootout in September, state law enforcement initially refused routine federal assistance in tracing the murder weapon, the Kansas City Star reported. The Justice Department says the Missouri state crime lab, operated by the Highway Patrol, also is refusing to process evidence that would help federal firearms prosecutions. The Missouri Information and Analysis Center, also under the Highway Patrol, no longer cooperates with federal agencies investigating federal firearms offenses. And the Highway Patrol, along with many other agencies, have suspended joint efforts to enforce federal firearms laws. The Justice Department’s brief comes in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the state gun law, filed by St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County. A Cole County court’s decision upholding the law is being appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. The brief said the law “poses a clear and substantial threat to public safety” and has “seriously impaired the federal government’s ability to combat violent crime in Missouri.” The law declares “invalid” many federal gun regulations that don’t have an equivalent in Missouri law. These include statutes covering weapons registration and tracking, and possession of firearms by some domestic violence offenders. Local departments are barred from enforcing them, or […]

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