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Missouri Supreme Court reverses judge’s 2nd Amendment Preservation Act ruling

Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 17:40:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court gave new life to a challenge against the state’s year-old Second Amendment Preservation Act.

The state's high court remanded a challenge brought by two counties and a city Tuesday back to the circuit court, overruling a Cole County judge's decision to snuff out the challenge seven months ago.

READ | Supreme Court decision: SC99290

The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County filed a lawsuit, which Jackson County later joined, seeking an injunction to prevent enforcement of the Second Amendment Preservation Act and a declaration that it is unconstitutional.

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green tossed the case in August, ruling that the counties and city were not entitled to declaratory relief.

On appeal, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a 6-1 decision that reversed Green’s original ruling, sending it back to Cole County Circuit Court for “further proceedings.”

The plaintiffs, including Jackson County, had asked the state’s high court to rule on the merits of the case, but the Missouri Supreme Court declined.

“We are taking a look at it, evaluating the decision and trying to see how it might affect us,” a spokesperson for Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker’s office told KSHB 41 News.

Along with St. Louis city and county, Jackson County sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Second Amendment Preservation Act violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which holds that the federal constitution — and federal law, generally — takes precedence over state laws and constitutions.

The political subdivisions also argued that the Missouri law, championed by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt as a check on federal infringement of gun rights, was vague and over-broad among other challenges.

It already has forced many Missouri law enforcement groups to sever affiliations with federal task forces and other initiatives.

"Municipalities and law enforcement groups across Missouri are coming together to challenge HB 85, which takes away critical tools we need to protect communities from gun violence," St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Jackson County said in a joint statement to KSHB 41 News. "St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Jackson County are pleased with today’s decision and look forward to a ruling that overturns this dangerous, blatantly unconstitutional legislation."

Missouri legislators passed the Second Amendment Preservation Act last May on the final day of the 2021 legislative session driven primarily by fear that the Biden Administration would pursue federal gun control action.

Among other provisions, the Second Amendment Preservation Act would penalize state and local law enforcement for enforcing federal gun laws that aren’t on the books in Missouri. State and local officials can be fined $50,000 under the law.

The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Missouri officials, which also cited the Supremacy Clause, demanding clarity about the law last June after Parson signed the bill.

No new hearing date for the original case has been set.