FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In an amended petition filed today, Jackson County was added to a lawsuit with St. Louis City and St. Louis County that seeks to block the recently signed Missouri House Bill 85 (HB 85). The legal action is supported by County Executive Frank White, Jr., who asked the County Legislature to express their support through a resolution. The County Legislature last week voted 5-3 on Resolution 20708 expressing its intent for the County to join the litigation.
“By voting to join our colleagues from the east side of the state, our County Legislature has made it clear that we will not stand by as our residents lives are put in jeopardy by Jefferson City,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “The residents of Jackson County deserve to have their voices heard, just like the people of St. Louis City and County.”
“A recent national study found that Missouri ranks second in the nation for the number of women murdered by men, a majority of them killed by guns,” said 2nd District At-Large Legislator Crystal Williams. “Because of that, domestic violence agencies in our community have every right to be concerned and terrified by this law because as we’ve seen, the state legislature refuses to pass anything to protect victims of domestic violence. I refuse to sit back and do nothing while this unnecessary law puts more innocent lives in danger.”
“You cannot do long-term undercover investigations and combat the violent crime happening in our community if you impair the ability of law enforcement to do their job," said 3rd District At-Large Legislator Tony Miller.
“It has already been said by the federal government that this is illegal, yet the state of Missouri deliberately continues to defy the rule of law,” said 1st District At-Large Legislator Jalen Anderson. “Though I am very disappointed in the state’s reckless actions, I am proud that as the second-largest county in Missouri, Jackson County has chosen to fulfill its moral obligation to stand up when we see something is wrong. Nobody wants more violence in this community but that’s exactly what we’re asking for if we let this law remain.”
Jackson County is joining the lawsuit to protect its interests, uphold federal gun laws and keep residents safe. The County employs numerous law enforcement officers who regularly enforce federal gun laws and therefore, is at risk of civil penalty for upholding the laws of the United States.
Together, Jackson County and the City and County of St. Louis are seeking an injunction of unconstitutional provisions, and ultimately, for the law to be overturned on constitutional grounds. The entities will jointly argue that HB 85 violates the U.S. Constitution Supremacy Clause, which provides that federal law preempts state law and also is in contravention of other Missouri law.
Filed in Cole County Circuit Court, a copy of the amended petition with Jackson County is attached as well as the U.S. Department of Justice letter to Governor Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt.