The Citizens' Voice

GOP lawmakers in states seek to void federal gun limits

- BY LINDSAY WHITEHURST

SALT LAKE CITY — With Democrats controllin­g the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibilit­y of new federal gun control laws aren’t waiting to react.

Legislatio­n in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictio­ns, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Some bills would make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws.

That 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 adviser for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders.

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, 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,” he said. Gun sales also have set monthly records nationwide since the coronaviru­s pandemic took hold.

Isom is concerned about 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. It’s not the first time Missouri has considered such a bill, but supporters pointed to President Joe Biden taking office as a reason to pass it now.

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