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Missouri Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Statement on House Passage of Bill to Nullify Federal Gun Laws

February 4, 2021

The Missouri chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the House passed HCS / HB 85 and 310, dangerous bills that would purport to nullify federal public safety laws in Missouri as well as prohibit state and local law enforcement officers from assisting in the enforcement of those laws. 

These bills — and several others moving through the legislature — would purport to nullify an array of federal public safety laws, prevent Missouri state and local law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of those laws, and threaten to penalize law enforcement agencies and local governments for taking steps to protect their communities. Although amendments were made to the bills on the floor, they remain an immediate threat to the safety of Missourians.

“This is a sad political ploy at a time when our communities are facing record gun violence and Missourians are pleading for solutions,” said Tara Bennett, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Trying to nullify federal gun laws is extreme and unconstitutional, and preventing law enforcement officers who are on the front lines of the gun violence crisis from performing some of their most basic duties puts our communities at risk.”

“This bill accomplishes nothing other than handcuffing the law enforcement officers trying to combat Missouri’s gun violence public health crisis,” said Chief Dan Isom, former St. Louis Police Chief and senior law enforcement adviser to Everytown for Gun Safety. “Across Missouri, local police are working hand in hand with federal law enforcement agencies to protect our communities — there is simply no reason to bar them from doing this.”

In a seething editorial last month, the Kansas City Star Editorial Board criticized Missouri lawmakers for pushing nullification legislation, saying “To see the Missouri Senate waste time and energy on an unconstitutional, unnecessary measure like SB 39 is frustrating. It’s doubly concerning when gun violence continues to rock the state, leading to record murders in some cities.”

Missouri continues to face over 1,100 gun deaths a year and has the fifth highest rate of gun deaths in the nation. Nullification legislation would undermine law enforcement efforts to curb this violence by interfering with the enforcement of federal public safety laws. Missouri already has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, and under a nullification law Missouri law enforcement officers would no longer be able to assist federal authorities in keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and others with dangerous histories. 

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