Missouri trooper released fugitive because of act blocking federal gun laws, DOJ says

After an Independence police officer was killed in a shootout in September, Missouri state law enforcement initially refused routine federal assistance in tracing the murder weapon. The same month, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper released a federal fugitive after a traffic stop. The incidents are described in a blistering court brief filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice outlining the consequences of the Second Amendment Preservation Act, a new state law that prohibits Missouri police officers from helping enforce certain federal gun laws. The document paints a stark portrait of how SAPA, also known as House Bill 85, has disrupted cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement. The DOJ says the Missouri state crime lab, operated by the Highway Patrol, 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 DOJ brief comes in an ongoing lawsuit challenging SAPA, filed by St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County. A Cole County court this year upheld the law, a decision being appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. “The United States has an exceedingly strong interest in this suit because H.B. 85 poses a clear and substantial threat to public safety. Since taking effect, the law has already seriously impaired the federal government’s ability to […]

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