When pro-gun sentiment hits the brick wall of reality, Second Amendment sanctuary laws don’t always pass the test. Some are symbolic from the beginning while others are summarily struck down in court. In Missouri, however, the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) appears to be having a real effect—at least for now.
The federal Department of Justice filed a complaint recently in a Missouri state circuit court that claims the SAPA is already hindering federal investigations in the state. Local law enforcement divisions have pulled support and assistance from several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) investigations, and they’ve restricted access to some informational databases.
“[The SAPA] has already interrupted these activities and is expected to continue doing so if allowed to go into effect,” according to the DOJ.
The state legislature passed the SAPA just this year. It prohibits state officials from enforcing federal firearms laws, and outlaws any taxes and fees imposed on guns, ammunition, or firearm accessories “not common to all other goods and services and that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items.” Gun registration, tracking, and confiscation schemes also fall under this prohibited category.
These restrictions have already prompted local law enforcement agencies to remove nearly a quarter of the ATF’s state and local support, according to the DOJ.
“These reductions in human resources have hindered ATF’s abilities to effectively pursue the enforcement of federal law against criminals, including violent criminals,” the agency claims.
In addition, SAPA has encouraged local state officials to restrict access to or stop participating in federal information gathering. Some state officials have indicated that they will no longer input data into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) or do so on only a limited basis.
The DOJ claims that the Columbia Police Department recently shut down an ATF NIBIN machine located on the department’s premises.
SEE ALSO: Idaho Joins Growing List of Second Amendment Sanctuary States Following Biden’s Gun Orders
In addition, the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) has refused to provide background information on investigative targets, and the Kansas City Police Department has refused to release investigative records or allow ATF access to firearms or ammunition in the department’s custody for purposes of ATF inspection.
State agencies have good reason to avoid helping the ATF. The SAPA levies a $50,000 civil penalty on any law enforcement agency that employs a person who gives “material aid and support” to anyone who tries to enforce a federal gun control law the bill defines as an infringement on the Second Amendment.
Ripley County Sheriff Mike Barton has already been brought to court by a man who claimed his rights were violated under the SAPA. Though the man withdrew the suit because his offenses occurred prior to the SAPA’s passage, it demonstrates that Missouri residents are ready and willing to use the new law.
The SAPA is currently being challenged in court by St. Louis and St. Louis County.