Inside Missouri’s ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Fight

Inside Missouri's '2nd Amendment Sanctuary' Fight

The Second Amendment Preservation Act declares that state firearms laws “exceed” the federal government’s power to track, register and regulate guns and gun owners. (Christopher Smith for The New York Times) OZARK, Mo. — Brad Cole is a fiery defender of the Second Amendment, a set-jawed lawman with a lacquered alligator head on his desk, a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum on his hip and a signed picture of himself with former President Donald Trump on his office wall. Cole, of Christian County, considers himself part of the constitutional sheriff movement, which contends that the federal government is subordinate to local authorities in most law-enforcement matters. Yet this year he found himself in the unusual position of pushing back against Republican state lawmakers ramming through a bill to punish local departments for collaborating with federal authorities on gun cases deemed to be in violation of Second Amendment rights. “Anytime you take away a tool from us to do our job and protect the people we serve, well, I’m going to have a huge problem with that,” said Cole, a Republican who worked with several other sheriffs from deep-red southern Missouri to modify the bill before it passed in May on a party-line vote. “It’s just a terribly written law,” he said. Even with the changes, the Second Amendment Preservation Act represents a challenge to federal authority that Biden administration officials and other critics see as a clear-cut violation of the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which prohibits states from passing laws […]

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