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O'Fallon, Mo., police chief resigns, cites Gov. Parson's attempt to invalidate federal gun laws

O'Fallon, Mo., police chief resigns, cites Gov. Parson's attempt to invalidate federal gun laws

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O’FALLON, Mo. — The O’Fallon, Missouri, police chief resigned on Friday because of concerns about the “poor wording” and “unintended consequences” of a bill recently signed by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson that seeks to invalidate federal gun laws in Missouri, according to a news release.

Philip Dupuis, who had been the police chief since October 2020, said the recently signed Second Amendment Preservation Act, which allows officers to be sued if they try to enforce federal gun laws, makes officers vulnerable during “good faith, justified seizures of firearms.”

O'Fallon, Mo., interim police Chief Philip Dupuis

Philip Dupuis began his duties as the interim police chief in O'Fallon, Mo., on Oct. 2, 2020. He was previously the police chief in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. Photo provided by the city of O'Fallon

Parson signed the bill last week. It would subject officers who knowingly enforce federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer.

“This vague language will create a flood of weaponized litigation that will chill the legitimate peacekeeping duties of police,” Dupuis said in a statement. “This will decrease public safety and increase frivolous lawsuits designed to harass and penalize good, hard-working law enforcement agencies. Highly effective partnerships between local and federal law enforcement agencies will have to be reevaluated.”

In a letter sent to state officials Wednesday night and obtained by The Associated Press, Justice Department officials said that federal law trumps state law and that Parson does not have the authority to enforce the new rule. Parson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt responded Thursday that they stand by the state law.

Dupuis joined the O’Fallon Police Department after a 10-year stint as police chief in a suburb of Houston. He was the city’s second new police chief in as many years.

City Administrator Mike Snowden said Maj. John Neske will take over as acting police chief in O’Fallon.

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