The Department of Justice shot off a letter Wednesday night challenging Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to sign his state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) into law on June 12.
The law prohibits Missouri law enforcement officers from enforcing federal gun laws or regulations. The DOJ’s letter, signed by acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, claims that SAPA threatens public safety and violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“The public safety of the people of the United States and citizens of Missouri is paramount,” Boynton wrote, and gave Parson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt only until Friday to respond. They didn’t need even that long.
When RedState deputy managing editor Susie Moore reported that “a Second Amendment Showdown Is Shaping up Between Missouri and the Biden Administration.”
Schmitt replied, “Yes it is. Our response to #JoeBiden’s DOJ is forthcoming. Spoiler Alert: Missouri will not be backing down. #SAPA”
He followed up with this statement: “Breaking: Missouri will fight any attempts from the federal government to encroach on Missourians’ Second Amendment rights.”
He added, “What part of ‘Shall not be infringed’ does #JoeBiden not understand. #2A”
That last phrase refers to the Second Amendment’s wording, which provides in pertinent part, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The DOJ will have more than just Missouri to battle. On Thursday, five days after Parson signed SAPA into law, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did the same with the Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act, which does essentially the same thing.
And as it turns out, 2021 was a huge year for states enacting similar laws. This year alone at least 11 state governors signed bills into law protecting the Second Amendment rights of its residents.
They include, in addition to Missouri and Texas: Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
In addition, all 29 Utah county sheriffs signed a pledge this month promising to uphold the Second Amendment, stating, “We hereby recognize a significant principle underlying the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms is indispensable to the existence of a free people.”
Finally, literally hundreds of county and local governments have become Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions. There are at least 76 counties in North Carolina alone that have done so.
President Biden’s determination to either prohibit or tax out of existence the most popular sporting rifles in America fueled this trend. He vowed to do the same with magazine capable of containing more than 10 rounds and wants to implement universal background checks — the first step toward a universal firearm registry.
But the trend didn’t begin with the Biden administration. Wyoming got the ball rolling in March of 2010, followed by Alaska in July of that year — during the Obama administration. Kansas did the same in 2013, as did Idaho the following year.
That trend stopped during the Trump administration.
In addition, constitutional law doesn’t appear to favor the Biden administration’s efforts.
The Supreme Court ruled in Printz v. United States, a 1997 case, that state and local governments cannot be compelled to administer federal law or regulations.
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.”
The court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller, a 2008 case, that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a personal right, unconnected with the membership in any militia.
Heller also held that the right extends to any weapon “in common use at the time,” such as the very firearms Biden wants to ban.
McDonald v. City of Chicago, heard two years after Heller, extended Second Amendment rights against state and local governments.
Finally, two months ago the Supreme Court agreed to hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Corlett, its first major Second Amendment case in more than a decade.
It will decide whether the right to “bear arms” trump’s some state and local governments’ requirements that restrict concealed carry permits to only those who can show a “need” to carry.
If the Biden administration goes after Second Amendment sanctuary jurisdictions, it could find itself embroiled in hundreds of lawsuits with little chance of success. And in the unlikely event that they did succeed, that could place sanctuary jurisdictions protecting illegal immigrants in jeopardy.
Democrats are about power and control; Republicans are about freedom.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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