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Federal judge rules Missouri 2nd Amendment Preservation Act unconstitutional

Posted at 12:06 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 06:07:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge has ruled that the Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act, which prohibited local law enforcement of federal gun laws, is unconstitutional.

United States District Court Judge Brian C. Wimes ruled Monday that the act violated the Supremacy Clause, and is null and void.

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution establishes that federal laws take priority over any conflicting state laws.

The United States Department of Justice brought the lawsuit against Missouri.

Due to the decision, Missouri agencies may enforce federal gun laws.

"State and local law enforcement officials in Missouri may lawfully participate in joint federal task forces, assist in the investigation and enforcement of federal firearm crimes, and fully share information with the Federal Government without fear of H.B. 85’s penalties," court documents say.

Under the act, local agencies could have been fined $50,000 for enforcing federal laws. Federal officials were still able to enforce federal laws, without aid from local law enforcement agencies.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey shared a statement announcing his plans to appeal the court's ruling.

“As Attorney General, I will protect the Constitution, which includes defending Missourians’ fundamental right to bear arms. We are prepared to defend this statute to the highest court and we anticipate a better result at the Eighth Circuit. The Second Amendment is what makes the rest of the amendments possible. If the state legislature wants to expand upon the foundational rights codified in the Second Amendment, they have the authority to do that. But SAPA is also about the Tenth Amendment. It’s about federalism and individual liberty, so we will be appealing the court’s ruling.”

The law was passed by Missouri's Republican-controlled legislature in May 2021, and was signed by Missouri Gov. Parson in June of the same year.

Parson's office says he supports Bailey's appeal and is an advocate for Second Amendment rights.

Governor Parson has always been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights and a champion for law enforcement, and he always will be. Governor Parson supports Attorney General Bailey as he works through the appellate process and is committed to administering the law as enacted by the General Assembly and interpreted by the Judiciary.

In September 2022, Kansas City joined Jackson County, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County in a lawsuit opposing the act. The Missouri Supreme Court weighed arguments for and against the law earlier that year in February.

After the ruling, Jackson County, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County released a statement on the decision.

A bipartisan majority of Missourians want the state legislature to enact common-sense gun safety measures, like red flag laws and background checks, to help keep families across our state safe. But year after year, Jefferson City politicians have continued to pass dangerous bills that make it more difficult to prevent gun violence in our communities. HB 85 makes it harder for police to do their jobs and strips away critical tools we need to protect our neighborhoods. We are encouraged by the federal court ruling today declaring it unconstitutional.” 
Jackson County, St. Louis City, St. Louis County

Mayor Lucas posted a statement on his social media Tuesday afternoon.