Next Salvo Fired in Battle Over Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

Last week, we brought you the story of the Second Amendment showdown shaping up here in the Show-Me State. In response to Missouri’s recent passage of the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which prohibits the enforcement of federal provisions that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, the Department of Justice sent a sternly worded letter asserting that:

[T]he law threatens to disrupt the working relationship between federal and local authorities…noting that Missouri receives federal grants and technical assistance.

The DOJ demanded a response by last Friday. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (who wrote a guest Op-Ed here yesterday) and Governor Mike Parson responded with their own letter on Thursday, advising Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton in no uncertain terms that Missouri would be standing its ground.

Over the weekend, came news that O’Fallon, Missouri Police Chief Philip Dupuis was resigning, citing the passage of SAPA as the main reason. Dupuis issued the following statement:

“I completely understand the motivation behind Missouri legislators’ desire to protect the gun rights of their citizenry,” said Chief Dupuis.  “I’m a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and have always respected those rights during my four decades in law enforcement. The problem with this statute is the poorly worded language that removes sovereign immunity and appears to allow law enforcement agencies and individual police officers to be sued for even good faith justified seizures of firearms in emergency circumstances.

“Every police department in the country seizes weapons during arrests for criminal activity or when they feel it is immediately necessary to protect someone who may be suicidal or threatening to harm others.  This statute allows that officer to be sued if the individual believes that seizure ‘infringed upon their second amendment rights.’ This vague language will create a flood of weaponized litigation that will chill the legitimate peace keeping duties of police. 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.

“I’m not willing to risk my family’s financial future on a poorly written piece of legislation that opens me and my fellow officers up to being sued even when they act lawfully and appropriately. In the current national environment of hostility towards law enforcement, the legislature appears to have handed anti-police activists a powerful weapon to abuse and torment law enforcement across the State of Missouri. They need to recognize their mistake and immediately go back to the drawing board.  Unfortunately, until they do, I am going to have to step away from a job I truly love.”

On Sunday evening, I joined The Tim Jones Show on KFTK to discuss the brewing battle between Missouri and the Biden administration.  (My segment starts around the 1:03 mark.)

Yesterday, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County (yes, they are two separate counties/jurisdictions) joined forces and filed suit against the State in Cole County Circuit Court, seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional and an injunction prohibiting its implementation. The 15-page Petition can be read, in full, here.

60d0dedc704b6.PDF by Susie Moore on Scribd

Governor Parson had this to say in response:

“The Second Amendment Preservation Act is about protecting law-abiding Missourians against government overreach and unconstitutional federal mandates,” Governor Parson said. “We will reject any attempt by the federal government to circumvent the fundamental right Missourians have to keep and bear arms to protect themselves and their property. Throughout my career, I have always stood for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and that will not change today or any day.”

So, you’ve got the State of Missouri facing off with both the federal government and two of its local subdivisions. This is going to be an interesting tussle. We’ll keep you posted.