(The Center Square) – Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act was ruled unconstitutional and voided by a federal judge on Tuesday.
In a 24-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes ordered House Bill 85, signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Parson in 2021, as “invalidated as unconstitutional in its entirety as violative of the Supremacy Clause. H.B. 85 is invalid, null, void and of no effect.” He denied the state of Missouri’s motion to dismiss the case.
The law prohibited Missouri law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal gun laws not approved by state lawmakers and instituted $50,000 fines for violations. The bill invalidated or nullified federal laws or “other actions deemed to infringe on a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
In an explanation of the law’s unconstitutionality, Wimes said the law’s “practical effects are counterintuitive to its stated purpose. While purporting to protect citizens, SAPA exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the Federal Government’s ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens within the limits of the Constitution.”
Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey promised an appeal in a social media post.
“As Attorney General, I will protect the Constitution, which includes defending Missourians’ fundamental right to bear arms,” Bailey wrote. “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.”
Tuesday’s ruling came after a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice. Two other state court lawsuits were filed against the law, one by the City of Arnold and the other by the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and Jackson County Executive Frank White issued a joint statement stating their constituents want the legislature to enact sensible gun safety measures.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, posted on social media Wimes is an “Obama judge appointee.”
“I’m confident Attorney General Andrew Bailey will take this to the Supreme Court,” Hoskins wrote. “We must protect our 2A rights!”
Joe Mueller covers Missouri for The Center Square. After seven years of reporting for daily newspapers in Illinois and Missouri, he spent the next 30 years in public relations serving non-profit organizations and as a strategic communications consultant.
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