Missouri officials refuse to work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, saying all federal 'so-called' gun laws are unconstitutional
- Officials in Camden County, Missouri are refusing to cooperate with the ATF, local reports said.
- The ATF asked for the zoning information of people applying to open new gun stores, per KCUR 89.3.
Missouri officials in one county have refused to work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, claiming that the government agency is unconstitutional.
Six top elected officials in Camden County signed a letter to the ATF saying as much, according to the NPR affiliate KCUR 89.3.
"Under the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, Camden County was the first county in Missouri, and possibly in the country, to pass an ordinance prohibiting any county employee from assisting your unconstitutional agency in violating the rights of our citizens," Ike Skelton, the county's presiding commissioner, said in the letter.
The population of the county is roughly 43,700, according to the latest Census figures.
The officials cited the state's Second Amendment Preservation Act as grounds to refuse to cooperate, KCUR reported. Last month, a federal judge struck down the 2021 law, which prohibited local police from enforcing federal gun laws, calling it "invalid, null, void, and of no effect."
Two of Skelton's colleagues — Jeff Green, a Camden County attorney, and Tony Helms, the county sheriff — and Kendra Hicks, the county treasurer, also signed the letter, KCUR reported.
Skelton, Helms, and Hicks did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on Sunday.
Skelton told KCUR he and his fellow officials were in "lockstep with this thought process."
"Any and all federal firearms laws, so-called laws, in my opinion, and many others' opinion, are unconstitutional," Skelton told KCUR.
The ATF was attempting to get zoning information to process applications for four individuals trying to open gun shops in the county, the outlet reported. John Ham, the public-information officer for the ATF's Kansas City Field Division, told KCUR that the bureau is trying to help civilians open gun stores, not prevent them from doing so.
"We use that information to put people in business, not to take people out of business," Ham told KCUR, adding that he had never seen a county refuse to provide such information, which is required to open new gun businesses.
Ham did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
In a comment to Insider, Erik Longnecker, the public-affairs deputy chief of the ATF, said: "ATF will continue to follow federal law when issuing licenses, regulating the firearms industry, and protecting our communities from violent gun crime."
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