Over the past several years, states have become more and more comfortable exercising their power to tell the federal government “no.” Under the Trump Administration, these refusals to cooperate often took the form of immigration sanctuaries and then morphed into Second Amendment sanctuaries in response to hostile local and state governments, as well as the Biden Administration.
States are recognizing that, in certain instances, they have the power to tell the federal government that the state won’t cooperate. This past week, Missouri did just that.
On July 13, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt issued a press release indicating that Missouri learned that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “planning to travel to Missouri in August to do ‘audits’ at sheriff departments across the state.” According to AG Schmitt, the FBI specifically intends to “harvest information on those who have legally obtained a concealed carry permit.” The FBI innocuously calls it an “onsite review of [the counties’] Concealed Carry Weapons Permits…”
Whatever you call it, Missouri isn’t playing ball.
Instead of rolling over—or just complaining about the FBI’s investigation—AG Schmitt wrote a strongly worded letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. The letter starts by noting that Missouri state law prohibits any information in the Missouri concealed carry permit system from being “distributed to any federal, state, or private entities…” That includes the FBI.
But Schmitt doesn’t stop there. In the remainder of his letter, Schmitt takes the opportunity to take the FBI to task for Missouri’s view of the agency and its past transgressions.
You may wonder why there is such strong suspicion of federal agents here in the ‘Show Me State.’ Simply put, Missourians…don’t need a national nanny-state keeping tabs on us. But more than that, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen story after story of incompetence and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI. Our trust in your agency is at an all-time low.
After taking shots at the FBI for its treatment of the parents of school children, and its investigation of several Trump Administration officials, the letter returns to defending Missouri gun owners.
Now the FBI appears to be targeting Missouri gun owners, and we will not stand for it. We believe in the Second Amendment here.
AG Schmitt still wasn’t finished.
In light of all these facts, Missourians have concluded that the FBI leadership in Washington, D.C. has been weaponized for political gain. You have lost our trust and you seem to be completely indifferent toward trying to rebuild it. Instead, you announce that you will show up at the offices of our elected Missouri sheriffs in open and blatant violation of our state law and seek to find out who in Missouri holds a legal CCW permit. This is not going to happen. I will fight you tooth and nail with all of the resources that the people of Missouri have given me as their Attorney General.
Beyond just throwing punches, AG Schmitt, who is running for a US Senate seat, is on strong legal footing in his refusal to work with the FBI.
While the difference between nullification and anti-commandeering can be quite confusing, Schmitt’s refusal to cooperate with the federal government here pretty clearly falls under the latter. And anti-commandeering has been repeatedly upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
To clarify, nullification occurs when a state deems a federal law to be void within the state’s borders and actively prevents the enforcement of that law by federal officials. On the other hand, anti-commandeering occurs when a state refuses to be dragged into the role of federal law enforcement, or refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement, but the state doesn’t directly prevent federal officials from enforcing federal law themselves.
In this case, Missouri state law merely prevents cooperation with a federal agency—a form of anti-commandeering. The Missouri law doesn’t prevent the FBI from enforcing federal law, nor does it seek to invalidate some federal law.
Of note, while some state’s firearm permits can be used as an alternative to undergoing a background check when purchasing a firearm, Missouri’s do not. Thus the FBI can’t say this “audit” is to ensure compliance with that system.
In other words, nothing requires Missouri to make the FBI’s job easier. The Constitution certainly doesn’t. And the Supreme Court certainly hasn’t said states must do so. It’s entirely up to the state. And here, it’s quite clear that Missouri isn’t interested in working with the FBI. All that remains to be seen, is what the FBI says—or does—in response.
Cody J. Wisniewski (@TheWizardofLawz) is a Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation with Firearms Policy Coalition. His work has appeared in the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, National Review, Daily Wire, and more. He primarily focuses on Second Amendment issues but is happy so long as he is reminding the government of its enumerated powers and constitutional limitations.
To learn more about Firearms Policy Coalition’s work and support their fight for maximal human liberty visit www.firearmspolicy.org and donate today.
What jurisdiction / enumerated constitutional authority does the FBI claim it has to audit a state-issued license?
The arrogant, big foot clause.
The WeBMarxistProgs rule
That was precisely my question. What authority does the FBI, which does not issue CCWs, have to search and copy such information from a state agency? What right do they have to intrude upon the privacy rights of the CCW license holders? Assuming they could get it with a subpoena, what probable cause do they have? (I dealt with a similar issue when a state agency was seeking to obtain private medical records of a patient in order to investigate a physician. The patient refused permission for the release of the records, and the court agreed the records could not be produced over her privacy objection.)
And the more fundamental question is; why do they want that information in the first place?
Of course, the answer here is: Neither the FBI, nor any other agency, or even individuals need ANY authority unless someone in a place of actual authority questions their motives. This has been the foundational principle of the Feds, and most blue state bureaucrats since the 1960s: Come in with some premise of power and do just about anything they want.
It’s particularly simple if their actions mirror what the woke, compliant media and other policy “creators and benders” are propagating at the time.
To find an actual elected official like AG Schmitt, who not only knows the law in the state for which he was elected to represent the voters and citizens, but also knows the US Constitution, and can parse the two, is a breath of fresh air. And like it or not, much of the courage being shown by men and women like Schmitt came from the election and style of DJT. If nothing else, he taught many who would seek positions of power that it’s not only “OK” to go against the entitled “establishment grain”, but that there is an ever-growing population of Americans who not only agree with the push-back, but have been looking precisely for candidates and elected representatives to do just that for decades.
Thank God for elected people like Eric Schmitt, and may many others follow his lead, from small town councils to the White House and everywhere in-between.
…”why do they want that information in the first place?”
Obviously to eventually bring all sources of power against those who can defend themselves, their communities, states, and country from their government… Remember, communists, and the Left in general have patience. Somewhere down the line, this info would ve useful to them.
To further clarify: It would create a registry of gun owners in Missouri,
My question as well Chip. The FBI is and has been operating outside of its original DOJ/Executive Mandate for far too long.
As a UK citizen subject to our draconian gun laws I hope that all Americans wake up to this Communist action. We have already lost our right to protect ourselves and our hard earned possessions. You must never all any encroachment on your 2nd amendment rights. Here, the only semi automatic firearms we can lawfully hold (not for self defense) are in .22lr.
All large calibre weapons can only be bolt action unless you collect historic militaria. Hand guns of anything over .22lr can only be held by a very hard to get Section 5 Firearm Certificate and then only kept at a designated range. Eventually I suspect that all firearms will be illegal.
Once you give an inch the lunatics at Capital Hill will most definitely take a mile.
Incidentally, the Draconian firearm legislation has not reduced gun crime. In fact it is up by about 4%. Clearly the criminals don’t care about legislation but the politicians just want to make sure that a fed up electorate cannot depose a tyrannical,corrupt wasteful government.
Can’t argue with his response or his stance. For a person to get a carry permit his information has already gone thru a background check by the FBI, why the redundencey ? The FBI is now just a reboot of the Gestapo anyway.
Watch for more “weaponizing” and “politicizing” of federal agencies.
Missouri AG: “Pound sand, FBI. You ain’t getting our CCW info.”
California AG: “Whoopsie! We just gave you all the info we have on our CCWs (wink).”
And not just to the FBI. That AG Bonta needs his ass kicked!
In Virginia CCW holders’ names are printed in the local newspapers, under the ruse of “Public Record”; like deed/land transactions recorded in Circuit Court.
Well I just hope Missouri’s state taxes can keep their infrastructure working cause they just blew all the Federal help.
“Fck with me I’ll fck with you.”
Unless the state has the balls to sue the Fed POS pansies
Easier said than done.
Remember when PDT tried to cut certain funds to Sanctuary Cities? By and large, the courts wouldn’t let him, and now WV v. EPA is going to clip Biden’s wings if he tries “pen and phone” governing.
If they pull that, then with hold taxes from the fed ! Also, pass a law that forbids gasoline and diesel sales to any fed agency in the state.
If the FBI is violating the federal and/or state Constitution, it would be the duty of the Sheriff to arrest them on the spot.
And if the sheriff refuses, the citizens with a ccw would have legal standing to make a citizens arrest.
Or the AG could set up a quick reflex team to arrest any FBI team within the state trying to get private citizens private info
The left likes to use the process as punishment, turn about is fair play.
The punishment needs to be extremely severe.
Now THAT would be a fine sight to see………. and justice served on a silver plate.
Let’s be even more direct and clear: a federal agency trying to obtain private information “under color of law” is direct and clear violation of our Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. The FBI going in to acquire private information from any state source without a search warrant is therefore violating our civil rights under color of law–a felony.
While that is a federal felony and a Missouri Sheriff has no federal authority to arrest anyone in violation of a federal statute, the Missouri Sheriff did swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and is obligated to actively protect the rights of citizens–including our Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. That alone obligates the Sheriff to go any extreme measures necessary to defend the citizens of Missouri.
Furthermore, I have to imagine that Missouri has some sort of privacy laws which would cover the privacy of concealed carry license holders. Federal agents who attempt to violate that law would therefore be guilty of violating Missouri law and Missouri Sheriffs would have legitimate authority to arrest federal agents who violate said Missouri law/s.
Works for me!
“…onsite review of [the counties’] Concealed Carry Weapons Permits…”
Aside from the fact the federal government has absolutely zero authority to do this….these are not firearms records, they are people records of those who have a permit to carry a firearm. The ATF has zero authority over this state function.
This is gonna be fun.
I know what they are doing, they are trying to make it seem like these are an individual firearms records which in a very dubious aspect they claim they have authority to “inspect”.
All run up to an attempt at a serious forced confiscation framework being established.
Dear FBI, remember little Bohemia? No one likes you anymore, J Edgar Hoover was a cross dresser who lived with his boyfriend.
Are the Feds trying this in other states?? Asking for a friend …
Looks like they’re going after Vermont, at least …
Ignore the above message. Massive brain fart.
Well, if they ask Leftist Scum ™ Florida Ag. Commissioner Nikki Fried, she’ll hand them over in a picosecond… 🙁
Nikki Fried probably already sent them to the FBI without them asking.
Vermont is BLUE! Their AG doesnt WANT to defy. Hell he would probably volunteer to kick every door in and seize the weapons!
Looking at Maine, a state with relatively lax gun control laws, the state has had no mass shootings since 1982 (same for Vermont, another state with loose gun controls).
Gun ownership in Maine: RAND estimates 48.6% of adults in Maine legally own a firearm (Vermont estimate is 50.5%)
Maine does not require persons over 21 to have a permit to carry a firearm (concealed, or not). same in Vermont.
Gotta wonder why Maine and Vermont, with loose gun controls aren’t subject to rampant firearm related crime and murder. the guns are there in significant number. What is the difference?
Could it be the people, rather than gun control? Could it be that the availability of firearms is not the problem? Could it be that the tool of death doesn’t drive the people to commit more crime and murder?
Could it be that, as in all the other states, the ease of committing crimes with weapons doesn’t drive the crime rate, but the demographics have more influence than do the tools and ease of crime?
they did not have to ask in California. Their AtG volunteered the informaiton to anyone who wanted it. Traitors!!
Thats what i waited for before i began carrying legally.
Amusingly enough, the proper response from an individual sheriff to the FBI when they show up should be: “Show me a warrant signed by a judge. Until then, you’re trespassing on city property, and you need to leave immediately.”
Sherriff has little authority in a “city”. A “city” is typically the territory of a hireling chief of popo who works for a mayor/city council (not responsible to the public). So will typically think the FBI can tell them what to do.
Sheriff primary jurisdiction is the “not city” area. But otherwise you are correct. As elected the Sheriff as an ELECTED official can/should tell the Feds to FOAD. Some, being, demtards will suck the toes of any Fed.
The county sheriff is the highest level Leo in their county. If the city is in their county they can overrule the police chief and any other leos even feds. Different states probably have different laws though.
That’s how it is in Commierado for sure. I just retook the Sheriff’s Department Citizens Academy last year. We spent an entire class session on that subject with the County Attorney leading the discussion and referencing both the State’s Constitution and the relevant State Legislation. The State Police can only take over a situation/investigation with the consent of the county’s Sheriff, unless on State owned land within the county.
A majority of the Sheriffs do defer to the State Police, but that’s mainly to access State’s greater resources.
Not sure about that warrant stuff any more. Theres a new dictator in town and his names Joe Biden. Back in March 2022 he signed executive order 14062 which gives the government to surveil, read that as spy, on any citizen, WITHOUT seeing a judge, getting a warrant or telling anyone they are doing it! They can also SEIZE all your finances, and/or control what you buy. Like maybe….guns? ammo? So he has the power.
Executive Order 14062 deals specifically with amending the UCMJ as it pertains to certain offenses committed by Service Members. It does not give civilian policing authorities the unlimited power that you claim that it does.
NOTE: this clarification does not, in any way, negate your claim that Mr. Potatohead is an aspiring dick-tater.
If you look hard enough, you can usually find a crime. Lawful carry permit holders and lawful (multiple) gun buyers have been determined to be the enemy of the state. As if they haven’t already disgraced the Bureau enough. They’re doing the same thing they’ve been doing since at least 2016. They’re going after political enemies. What do you expect from communist bureaucrats?
“Three Felonies A Day.”
Surely the FBI has better things to do like the two NCHP troopers I saw standing around in the local coffee shop playing pocket pool. Our taxes at work.
The FBI does not uphold the law it makes the law up as it goes along. There is an old saying “10 to 1 the FBI wins in the end”. All the government as to do is threaten to withhold Federal Funds from being spent or given to the State. Its a trick that works every time. Big money talks and State bravado bullshit walks.
The real question is why does the FBI want this information?
Dackie Boy, are you still alseep? That answer is well known and has been for at least a few decades.
is it well known? this appears to only be happening in missouri, or if it is happening in other states those other states are cooperating with fbi.
withheld highway funding did not persuade ‘weesiana to eliminate open container…
Tennessee either. Road beers are still very much a thing here 😂
One of the overlooked portions of the OCare decision shot that approach in the head. Obama tried to make ALL HHS funding for Medicare/Medicaid contingent on adopting OCare; the decision basically said the current funding must be maintained and only the “additional” funding specifically part of the law could be withheld.
The Feds could use the data California already published, and extrapolate.
ATF “audit”, FBI “audit”.
Not a coincidence.
Quick easy fix, pass constitutional carry and then there will be no names at all.
Missouri has constitutional carry.
Just because a state has it doesn’t mean they must give up issuing concealed licenses (Texas, for example still offers LTC after constitutional carry became law in 2021). It also does not mean states automatically destroy all records of those who had concealed licenses before CC became law in that state.
Your right, we have constitutional carry here but I still keep up my permits for three different states.
In Texas you need to maintain an LTC if you want to have carry insurance.
I live in Texas and have been with CCW Safe for a while, which now has a constitutional carry plan. Not sure when they added that but with half the country at CC now, they had to go that route.
But I will keep renewing my LTC unless they never offer it any more to make gun buying more efficient and traveling to friendly states, etc. Haven’t had a speeding ticket since the previous century, when I didn’t carry, I don’t know if the whole cops-are-more-lenient thing is BS or not.
Powerful letter. I like the cut of this guy’s jib. Hopefully, next year we are going to see Wray and Garland hauled before some oversight committees and asked these questions, as well as some targeted cuts to specific portions of the FBI’s budget.
Will be interesting to see if Wray or Garland respond to the letter. My guess is that they will not.
In Missouri the former Governor, an ex-navy seal, was taken out by a corrupt district attorney. But that ex-navy seal was also a weak supporter of the Second Amendment. I believe he actually said that no civilian needed to own an AR-15 rifle. I’m glad that guy is gone. I don’t believe that ex-navy seal would have signed the Constitutional carry law. Like the current governor did.
Anyone who says voting is just worthless, that person is not your friend. They in fact are an enemy of Liberty. You need to stay involved and informed about what is going on where you live.
Ron DeSantis in Florida won by less than 30,000 votes.
“Why It’s OK Not To Vote – Katherine Mangu-Ward” video 55 min long
At the local and State levels, our votes can and do make a difference. At the Federal level, that’s a whole different ball game…
US Senators aren’t elected by popular vote as per the 17th Amendment, they’re elected by Corporate Sponsorship.
Commierado, was among the first states to go to Mail In Ballots. Since then, more Democrats than Republicans get elected. Every 2 years the State’s Legislature Conservative Caucus gets smaller. Rural Coloradoans no longer have much of a voice, as Denvergrad runs the state (into the ground).
I learned something new today. Anti-Commandeering. Thank you.
I walked into an Independence county Arkansas sheriffs office and went up to the nice old lady at the desk and loudly announced my name and that I was a fugitive from justice. I had already talked to the nice old lady on the phone. I had forgotten about a no seatbelt violation I had received and they issued a warrant for failure to appear. She told me that I needed to bring $258.50 to her. I was doing that.
When I said that about 10 deputies put their hands on their guns and turned toward me.
I realized then that my joke wasn’t funny to them. I gave her the money and went on my way with apologies for being an asshole.
I hope that any FBI agent gets the same welcome in Missouri.
I’ve seen this story in numerous places. At no time have I seen a purported “reason” for this “audit”.
What, specifically, does the FBI want and why does it claim to want this information?
“I’ve seen this story in numerous places. At no time have I seen a purported “reason” for this “audit”.
Wasn’t it reported that the agents said there was an investigation into “straw” purchases?
Not that such would serve as a de facto warrant.
I agree this is a good question. Is FBI doing this in other states too? If not, why Missouri? If so, why aren’t other states also speaking up?
Maybe I missed it. Saw one guy talking about how AG Schmidt knows the law and constitution… Where are all the small government republicans? The FBI is not a constitutionally authorized agency, which means taxes are definitely too high.
If those agents get shot during this illegal exercise of federal power, Bad Elk v US controls.
Talk about a ‘Red Flag’ against American’s civil rights! The Commies have turned our federal law enforcement agencies against law-abiding citizens. This is nothing more than a precursor to eventual gun confiscation. Note that this and other anti-gun actions do not address the criminal use of guns by criminals. It only goes after law-abiding citizens. That should tell you all that you need to know about their intentions. Maybe if federal law enforcement would spend as much time and effort tracking down real criminals and illegal gun use, they could keep us safer? Of course, they could care less about our safety. It is a total scam to eventually disarm us for THEIR safety. What plans do they have that makes them afraid of us?
The way the FBI has conducted themselves in the past couple decades, I would not give them the sweat off my nads if they were dying of thirst! Well said Mo AG!
2nd Amendment, 9th Amendment, 10th Amendment, 14th Amendment. These are the four legs of liberty upon which our gun rights sit. If the fibbies think they can come in and boss locals around where feds have no legitimate authority, they are wrong and good sheriffs will meet them at the county line and warn them “not one more inch” or be subject to arrest. Sheriffs are not mere policemen but are defenders of the liberties of the people of their county, whether it be from federal agents or from street criminals seeking to steal, assault, or defraud. The county sheriff, like the Right to keep & bear arms, pre-exists the establishment of this nation and comes from antiquity based on the common law Rights of Englishmen. The sheriff is the SUPREME law enforcement authority in their county and can refuse an order, if need be, from even the President of the United States. Or in our current circumstance, the ‘Resident’ of the US!
If one wishes to have backup in lawful noncompliance with federal tyranny, you need to elect sheriffs that know the US Constitution and the constitution of your state, and who honor their Oath. If you have a sheriff that doesn’t keep his or her Oath, vote them out at the earliest possible opportunity!