DOJ knocks Missouri's 'clear and substantial threat' to public safety
State of Missouri picture of Gov. Mike Parson.

On Thursday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is warning a new Missouri law designed to protect gun rights is a "clear and substantial threat" to public safety, by effectively eliminating cooperation from state officials on federal cases involving guns.

Missouri's law does not nullify federal gun laws within the state — but it does prohibit state officials from helping federal officials to enforce them, similar to the model adopted with "sanctuary cities" that seek to protect immigrants. And that is already having dangerous consequences, according to the report.

"A blistering court brief filed Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice outlines multiple examples," said the report. "The brief said that after an Independence police officer was killed in a shootout in September, state law enforcement initially refused routine federal assistance in tracing the murder weapon, The Kansas City Star reported."

"The Justice Department says the Missouri state crime lab, operated by the Highway Patrol, also is refusing to process evidence that would help federal firearms prosecutions," said the report. "The Missouri Information and Analysis Center, also under the Highway Patrol, no longer cooperates with federal agencies investigating federal firearms offenses. And the Highway Patrol, along with many other agencies, have suspended joint efforts to enforce federal firearms laws."

A number of cities and counties around the country have similarly declared themselves to be "Second Amendment sanctuaries." Missouri's statewide law, however, is one of the most extreme and consequential to be enacted so far.

The law is currently being challenged in a state court lawsuit filed by St. Louis city, St. Louis County, and Jackson County.