Missouri Gov. Michael Parson (R) signed a bill last week to prohibit in-state enforcement of certain federal gun controls. On Friday, the O’Fallon police chief responded to the new legislation by resigning from his post.
Philip Dupuis, who has been the police chief since October 2020, said the “poor wording” of the Second Amendment Preservation Act could have “unintended consequences,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The bill allows individual officers to be fined for up to $50,000 for enforcing federal gun laws — legislation which Dupuis said leaves officers vulnerable during “good faith, justified seizures of firearms,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dupuis released a statement saying:
This vague language will create a flood of weaponized litigation that will chill the legitimate peacekeeping duties of police. This will decrease public safety and increase frivolous lawsuits designed to harass and penalize good, hard-working law enforcement agencies. Highly effective partnerships between local and federal law enforcement agencies will have to be reevaluated.
Dupuis told KMOV4 that while he is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, House Bill 85 misses the mark:
If President Biden said we’re taking up everybody’s AR15s or their high capacity magazines, we want local law enforcement to help us. If they had a bill that said don’t help them do that and if we do, the department is liable, that’s one thing. But to hold individual officers for assisting a federal agency is horrific.
In the current national environment of hostility towards law enforcement, the legislature appears to have handed anti-police activists a powerful weapon to abuse and torment law enforcement across the State of Missouri. They need to recognize their mistake and immediately go back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, until they do, I am going to have to step away from a job I truly love.
The Department of Justice sent a letter to Gov. Parson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt last Wednesday saying they don’t have the authority to enforce the Second Amendment Preservation Act. Parson and Schmitt responded Thursday, sticking by the legislation.
“We will fight tooth and nail to defend the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment, Article I, § 23 of the Missouri Constitution, and the Second Amendment Preservation Act. And we will not tolerate any attempt by the federal government to deprive Missourians of this critical civil right,” the letter concluded.
Dupuis’s resignation comes soon after Schmitt’s withdrawal of prosecutors from two dozen federal violent crimes cases in St. Louis. Those cases are now in limbo — and at risk of being dropped — even though Schmitt as recently as February touted the success of the state-federal partnership in prosecuting violent crime.
Schmitt is running for U.S. Senate in 2022 as a Republican. With former President Trump’s hardline stance on law and order widely supported, GOP contenders will most likely have to prove a “tough-on-crime attitude” to sway voters.
Breitbart News asked Schmitt’s office on Monday about his support of the bill and received this statement:
“At every single turn, Attorney General Schmitt has aggressively pushed back on attempts to defund the police, supported Missouri’s law enforcement, defended Missourians’ Second Amendment rights, and prosecuted violent criminals – any suggestion otherwise is unfounded and completely laughable. He has vocally opposed and will continue to oppose any effort to defund the police. He has presented our “Back the Blue” awards to law enforcement across the state for their heroics and dedication to their communities, and successfully fought to repeal the residency rule to aid in police recruiting. He has and will continue to fiercely defend the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens. And, through his efforts to prosecute violent crime, we’ve tallied over 600 charges filed against violent criminals across the state. Attorney General Schmitt’s record is unassailable.”
His office did not explicitly answer why Schmitt would support a bill that holds individual officers personally liable for doing their jobs.
City Administrator Mike Snowden said Maj. John Neske will become the acting police chief in O’Fallon, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.