ST. LOUIS – A Missouri gun law is now considered unconstitutional by a federal judge, but the legal battle appears to be far from over.
Some law enforcement officers feared the law would have unintended consequences when it comes to fighting crime, but Attorney General Andrew Bailey vows to keep fighting for it as it’s written.
The Second Amendment Preservation Act is also known as ‘SAPA.’ It was passed in 2021, and made it illegal for police to enforce federal gun laws that are not included in state statutes. It also allows people to sue police departments for up to $50,000 if they feel like an officer is violating their Second Amendment rights.
The Missouri attorney general plans to fight in court to uphold the law as it’s written, saying if the state legislature wants to expand the foundational rights in the Second Amendment, they have the authority to do that. A federal judge striking down the law is a victory for police who have criticized the measure.
The former police chief in O’Fallon, Missouri, even resigned over it – citing the law’s poor wording.
U.S. District Judge, Brian Wimes, ruled the legislation violates the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy over local laws. He called it, “unconstitutional in its entirety.”
The law has also been widely criticized by St. Louis area police and officials, including Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. They said it kept authorities from cooperating with federal gun investigations and slowed efforts to crack down on gun violence.
All of this comes on the same day that hundreds of people traveled to Jefferson City asking for stronger gun laws.
Bailey plans to appeal the ruling, sharing, “I will protect the constitution, which includes defending Missourians’ fundamental rights to bear arms. We’re prepared to defend the statute, the highest court, and we anticipate a better result at the Eighth Circuit.