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Koster Opposing Bill That Could Nullify Federal Gun Laws In Mo.

(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)
Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is siding with fellow Democrat, Governor Jay Nixon, in opposition to legislation that would challenge the federal government's ability to enforce federal gun laws in Show-Me State.

In a letter sent Tuesday to House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka), Koster says if lawmakers override the Governor's veto of House Bill 436, the potential new law could end cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies and give criminals the right to sue police officers who try to enforce it.  State Representative Doug Funderburk (R, St. Charles), the bill's sponsor, calls Koster's interpretation of his bill "extreme."

"(Koster) even confesses in his letter (that) he's taking the strictest view of the language, and I think even the incorrect view, and then establishing all these premises based on what I feel is a wrong interpretation of the statute," Funderburk said.

Jones released a response hours after Koster made his letter public:

“I am disappointed that our Attorney General has again opted to regurgitate the governor’s talking points rather than stand with a bipartisan supermajority in the House and Senate in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Missourians. What he fails to acknowledge in his politically-motivated letter is that the bill, at its core, seeks to affirm our rights as a state by pushing back against a federal government that has far exceeded the authority it was intended to have by our founding fathers. We will be further analyzing and examining the specific legal issues raised by the Attorney General and will respond if additional comment is necessary."

Among the bill's provisions is one that would charge federal agents with a misdemeanor if they try to enforce a federal gun law that's found to conflict with the proposed state law.  House Bill 436 was vetoed earlier this year by Governor Nixon, but Republican leaders are expected to attempt an override during next week's veto session.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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