(The Center Square) – Missouri will become the nation’s 13th state to prohibit local and state police from enforcing federal gun restrictions not approved by state lawmakers when Gov. Mike Parson signs the ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ into law Saturday at a Lee’s Summit shooting range.
House Bill 85, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, “invalidates” or “nullifies” federal laws or “other actions deemed to infringe on a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Parson will be the 10th Republican governor this year to sign ‘Second Amendment Preservation Acts,’ ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ resolutions or bills restricting state cooperation in enforcing federal firearms regulations.
The governors of Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia have endorsed gun rights measures adopted by GOP-led legislatures since March.
HB 85 was adopted in 111-42 House and 24-10 Senate votes, capping a near-decade quest by Republicans to pass a ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act.’
In 2013, lawmakers adopted a ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ that was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. An override narrowly failed. Likely passage of a 2020 measure with 80 cosponsors was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden lobbying for gun control legislation, “The Second Amendment is under attack,” Taylor said on May 14 after HB 85 was sent to Parson’s desk.
Under HB 85, local police are forbidden to assist federal agents in enforcing laws declared “invalid” and federal agents who enforced “invalid” laws are ineligible for employment by the state. Local police can cooperate with federal agents in enforcing gun restrictions that also exist in Missouri law.
If local police, sheriff’s deputies or state police enforce federal laws not on Missouri’s books and violate a state resident’s Second Amendment rights, victims can sue for $50,000.
The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause makes the legality of “nullifying” federal laws dubious. But that’s irrelevant, supporters say.
“We’re just simply saying we’re not going to lift a finger to enforce their rules,” Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield, said when HB 85 was adopted May 13 in the Senate.
“The Governor is aware of the legal implications of this bill, but also that, now more than ever, we must define a limited role for federal government in order to protect citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones wrote in a statement. “This is about empowering people to protect themselves and acknowledging the federalist constitutional structure of our government.”
More than 1,200 jurisdictions in 37 states have adopted resolutions opposing the enforcement of state and federal laws that violate the Second Amendment, according to a December 2020 report by US LawShield, a Texas-based legal defense organization for gun owners.
That pace is accelerating. Over the last year, more than 400 local governments, mostly counties, across the nation have adopted resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” and “Second Amendment Preservation Acts,” according to a March Issue Brief by the American Constitution Society.
Parson will sign the bill in a Saturday ceremony at Frontier Justice, the same Lee’s Summit shooting range where U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, Thursday declared her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Roy Blunt.
Hartzler joins former Gov. Eric Greitens, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Mark McCloskey, who gained national attention when he and his wife brandished guns at Black Lives Matter protesters last year, in a crowded GOP primary field.