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Missouri's "Second Amendment Preservation Act" ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

On June 12, 2021, Governor Parson signed Missouri’s “Second Amendment Preservation Act” (“SAPA”) into law. SAPA sought to invalidate certain federal firearms laws in Missouri and provided remedies against cities and their police departments who enforced or aided in enforcing those federal firearms laws which included penalties of up to $50,000 per violation and attorneys’ fees and costs. The law was controversial from its inception and criticized by many for causing state and local law enforcement officers to withdraw or limit their cooperation with joint federal-state task forces, reduce their sharing of information with federal law enforcement, and sowing general confusion about the validity of various federal firearms laws in the State.

The federal government sued to challenge the constitutionality of SAPA in the federal court for the Western District of Missouri. On March 7, 2023, that court found that SAPA was unconstitutional in its entirety for reasons including that it violated the Supremacy Clause of the Federal Constitution which establishes the priority of federal law over conflicting state law. The court determined that SAPA was “invalid, void, and of no effect” and that “[s]tate 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 SAPA’s penalties. Furthermore, the court prohibited the State from “all implementation and enforcement” of SAPA.

The State has appealed this decision and moved to stay the judgment pending the appeal. But for now, SAPA is not preserved in any way and cities and their police departments may disregard it.

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