Missouri county authorizes sheriff to arrest feds who try to enforce new gun laws violating second amend

Commissioners in a southwestern Missouri county have passed an ordinance that authorizes the sheriff to arrest any federal agents who try to enforce new gun laws or policies viewed as violations of the Second Amendment.

“Be it enacted by the Newton County Missouri Commission as follows: All federal acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations passed by the Federal government and specifically any Presidential Administration whether past, present or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States and Article 1, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in the county, shall not be recognized by this county, and specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county,” says the ordinance, which is titled, “Newton County Second Amendment Preservation Act.”

It adds: 

Such acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations include but are not limited to any tax levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services … any registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition … any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition … and finally, any act, whether past, present or future passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by the Federal Government and specifically any Presidential Administration which infringes on the people’s right to keep and bear arms in Newton County, Missouri shall be considered null and void by the county and not recognized by this county.

“Any and all federal agents trying to enforce the regulations listed in Section (1) shall be subject to arrest by the Sheriff’s department,” the ordinance continues.

The ordinance appears to line up with the Missouri Constitution which states, in part, “the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.” The state constitution goes on to describe as “inalienable” the right to own guns.

The ordinance comes as President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are said to be considering a raft of new gun control measures that include pushing for bans of entire classes of firearms, including so-called “assault weapons,” a national gun registry, universal background checks, and new taxes and levies on existing guns and ammunition.

Jurisdictions in other parts of the country are also pushing back against any new gun control measures. Last week, county commissioners in Jefferson City, W. Va., voted to create a “Second Amendment sanctuary” — modeled after “sanctuary cities” whereby local officials have pledged to enforce federal immigration laws. Jefferson County now joins a majority of other counties in West Virginia that have passed similar gun sanctuary ordinances.

Gun sanctuaries have become more popular in conservative and right-leaning regions of the country in response to calls from Democrats to clamp down on gun ownership. According to one grassroots organization that supports gun sanctuaries, as of September, fully one-third of all U.S. counties had passed such ordinances.

That said, the Newton County ordinance notably goes a step further by authorizing the local sheriff to actually detain federal agents who try to enforce gun laws considered unconstitutional by the state.

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Jon Dougherty

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