In the quest to gather essential zoning data to finalize applications for four aspiring gun store proprietors, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) faces staunch opposition from Camden County.
Unyielding in their stance, the county simply won’t play ball.
Camden County Officials Defy Cooperation With ATF
Camden County, approximately 250 miles southeast of Kansas City in Missouri, has seen six of its highest-ranking officials stand together, defying cooperation with the ATF.
They assert that the agency itself operates in violation of the Constitution.
Addressed to the ATF’s Kansas City office, the letter was penned by Camden County presiding commissioner Ike Skelton, who invoked a local ordinance forbidding county employees from collaborating with the ATF.
Skelton’s wrote in the letter:
“Camden County, blazing a trail as Missouri’s first and possibly even the nation’s inaugural county to enact an ordinance, stops any county employee from abetting your unconstitutional agency in infringing upon the rights of our citizens, all in accordance with the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine.”
Camden county, MO stood up to the #ATF, I hope other counties follow thier lead. Sheriff's are our last line of defense against federal tyranny. God bless these brave men. pic.twitter.com/qKMBcdAEiz
— Cars Guns & Guitars (@CarsGunsGuitars) April 16, 2023
The letter bore the signatures of Skelton’s fellow commissioners, County Attorney Sheriff Jeff Green, Tony Helms, and County Treasurer Kendra Hicks.
Unwavering in their convictions, Skelton disclosed to KCUR, “Our unanimity is unwavering. Federal firearms legislation — so-called laws — are, in our view and that of many others, unconstitutional.”
Missouri Enacted Second Amendment Preservation Act in 2021
Despite the staunch opposition, ATF spokesperson Jon Ham emphasizes the agency’s objective is to facilitate the opening of gun stores, not to obstruct them.
Federal law mandates the ATF to verify compliance with local zoning and other regulations before issuing a Federal Firearms License, as Ham explains. This process ensures no one establishes a gun store on land designated for residential use.
“We employ that information to enable people to commence business, not to force them out of it,” Ham clarified.
In an unprecedented turn of events, Ham disclosed that he never before witnessed a county within the jurisdiction of the Kansas City Field Office — which spans four states — refuse to supply such information.
This, he noted, could potentially hinder the ATF’s capacity to pass the federal licenses necessary to launch these four businesses.
In 2021, Missouri enacted the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), empowering citizens to take legal action against Missouri law enforcement if they perceive their gun rights to have been encroached upon through the enforcement of federal regulations.
BREAKING: A federal judge has ruled that Missouri’s state gun law – the so-called Second Amendment Preservation Act – is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. pic.twitter.com/zBEjTK6QNh
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 7, 2023
However, just last month, a federal judge declared SAPA unconstitutional, asserting it contravened the principle that federal law supersedes state law.