Justice Department: Missouri gun law undercuts public safety

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — At least 12 Missouri law enforcement officers have pulled out of federal task forces because of a new state gun law, the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a Wednesday court filing. 

The Missouri law barring state and local authorities from enforcing federal gun laws hasn't even taken effect yet. It kicks in Aug. 28.

But the law has already damaged state and federal law enforcement relationships, the Justice Department wrote in a court filing in support of a St. Louis-area lawsuit seeking to overturn the legislation. 

The law subjects law enforcement agencies with officers who knowingly enforce any federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has felt the brunt of the impact, according to the Justice Department. 

So far, 12 of 53 federally deputized officers in Missouri have pulled out of joint task forces because of the law. 

Kansas City police no longer are sharing investigative information with the bureau or giving its agents access to gun and ammunition evidence, the department wrote. 

Several Missouri police agencies also plan to stop sharing ballistics evidence in a national database used to solve gun crimes. 

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Thursday.