Missouri County Declares ATF ‘Unconstitutional,’ Refuses To Recognize Agency

A county in Missouri is refusing to recognize the “unconstitutional” U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives over a zoning information dispute roughly 2500 miles southeast of Kansas City.

Six of Camden County’s top elected officials are refusing to cooperate with the ATF who seek “zoning information” that they claim they need to complete applications for new gun stores.

In a letter sent to the ATF’s office in Kansas City, Camden County presiding commissioner Ike Skelton pointed to a local ordinance which bans county employees from working with the agency, known as the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine.

“Under the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, Camden County was the first county in Missouri, and possibly in the country, to pass an ordinance prohibiting any county employee from assisting your unconstitutional agency in violating the rights of our citizens,” Skelton wrote in the letter, signed by two commissioners, Camden County Attorney Jeff Green, Sheriff Tony Helms, and Camden County Treasurer Kendra Hicks.

“We are in lockstep with this thought process,” Skelton told local media outlets. “Any and all federal firearms laws, so-called laws, in my opinion, and many others’ opinion, are unconstitutional.”

Speaking on the situation unfolding in Camden County, ATF spokesman Jon Ham claimed the agency actually wants to help open more gun stores, not the opposite.

Ham continued, explaining that some federal law requires the firearm regulator to “check on local zoning and other laws before granting a Federal Firearms License” and “make sure someone isn’t opening a gun store on property zoned for housing.”

“We use that information to put people in business, not to take people out of business,” Ham said, adding that the county’s unprecedented refusal to acknowledge the agency’s legitimacy could “impact the ATF’s ability to approve” the gun store licenses.

Speaking during a recent press conference, the Camden County officials repeatedly cited the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, which allows citizens to sue Missouri police if federal agencies deprived them of their second Amendment rights.

Camden County says the law prohibits “government employees from assisting the federal government in any of their requirements or attempts to enforce federal firearms laws, or any application thereof.”

“Members of Camden County are not to assist any federal agency in the enforcement or application of so-called firearm laws or rules,” said Skelton.

“Soon after reviewing the emails in question, I sent an email to all office-holders reminding them of the precepts of the Second Amendment Preservation Act and that any future inquiries should be sent to my office,” said Skelton outside of the Camden County Courthouse.