Criminal law

State Republican Lawmakers Move Against Federal Gun Restrictions

In response to the Biden administration’s push for new federal gun-control laws, Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation in at least a dozen states that seek to nullify any new firearm restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons, and, in some cases, would even make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws, reports the Associated Press. A Missouri measure passed by the state House that would allow police departments with officers who enforce federal gun laws to be sued and face a $50,000 fine and the Utah state House passed a bill with a similar provision forbidding the enforcement of federal gun laws. These laws can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders.

Most of the latest crop of federal nullification proposals focus on police officers inside their states who primarily enforce state rather than federal laws. Federal nullification bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a Second Amendment sanctuary. Many Republican state lawmakers see attempts to pass federal firearms restrictions as a threat to the Second Amendment.