U.S. Marshals preparing for a recent operation with local police in Missouri to arrest a fugitive allegedly involved in drug trafficking faced last-minute hurdles because of a controversial new state law aimed at protecting gun rights, reports WPSD Local 6. The officials said that local officials in Cape Girardeau decided their officers couldn’t assist federal authorities because there was a chance a drug dealer had a gun in the home, citing the law — which was passed by state lawmakers in June, 2021 and went into effect last weekend — that the state’s Republican governor says is aimed at protecting Second Amendment rights, and the possibility that federal authorities may seize guns meant that local officers couldn’t provide assistance to the federal officers.
The episode is one of several that federal agents have encountered in Missouri because local authorities are worried about running afoul of the state law called the Second Amendment Preservation Act. In some cases, police departments have withdrawn their officers from task forces led by federal law enforcement agencies. Most of the conflicts raised by the law have come in operations involving the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which enforces gun laws. A study during the first six months of this year in 29 cities showed that the number of homicides increased by 16 percent compared to the same period in 2020 and by 42 percent compared to the first six months of 2019. In Missouri, the State Highway Patrol reported 730 homicides statewide in 2020, a 26.5 percent increase over 2019, and the 13,869 firearm related offenses recorded last year represent a 108 percent increase over 2019. Of more than 8,000 firearm crimes reported so far this year and 218 homicides, 74 percent involved a firearm