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 Missouri Senate passed HB 85, a dangerous bill that attempts 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. The bill will move to the Governor’s desk following House approval.
This bill has been opposed by law enforcement because it prevents Missouri state and local law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of basic public safety laws and coordinating with federal law enforcement agencies, and threaten to penalize law enforcement agencies and local governments for taking steps to protect their communities from gun violence.
“Missouri is going through one of the worst gun violence epidemics in the country, and lawmakers decided to make it harder for law enforcement to protect the public’s safety,” said Karen Rogers, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “There is no rhyme or reason as to why they would advance this bill, no benefit to Missouri communities. All this bill does is threaten Missourians and prevent law enforcement officers from doing their jobs.”
According to the Associated Press, “Putting local officers in a position to decide which laws to enforce is the last thing police need at a time when cities such as St. Louis are experiencing a rise in violent crime, [Former St. Louis Police Chief Dan] Isom said….‘This has been an extremely challenging year for both communities and law enforcement, and to ask any more mental strain on officers at this point in time seems to be quite displaced,’ [Isom] said.”
Missouri continues to face over 1,200 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.