On Saturday, Missouri governor Mike Parson (R) signed legislation establishing the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA). The move, which brings an end to eight years of tireless effort by dedicated grassroots activists, brings the state one step closer toward ending federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
House Bill 85 (HB85), introduced by Rep. Jered Taylor (R-District 139) and co-sponsored by Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Senate District 20) and Rep. Bishop Davidson (R-District 130), declares that the courts and law enforcement agencies must protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. It also prohibits the enforcement of federal gun laws by local law enforcement agencies. Taylor said in February:
"I think anything on the federal level as it relates to the second Amendment is an infringement. If anyone were to pass gun legislation, it should be on the state level... We're just telling the federal government we're not going to help you enforce your federal gun laws."
Following passage by the House in February by a 103-43 vote, the bill was stalled for weeks due to filibuster attempts by Democrats. On May 13, with some amendments, the Senate approved the measure by a 24-10 vote, with the House giving final approval the next day by a 111-42 vote. With Saturday's signing by Gov. Parsons, the law goes into effect immediately. Parsons commented:
"It is our job to protect the 2nd Amendment. The states are the firewall to the federal government. Throughout my law enforcement career and now as Governor of the state of Missouri, I have and always will stand for the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights. This legislation today draws a line in the sand and demonstrates our commitment to 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."
In May, Sen. Burlison said, “I have been advocating for SAPA for years now...Finally getting this crucial legislation across the finish line and sent to the governor’s desk is an incredible feeling, and I am thankful for my colleagues and their hard work to protect Missourians from overreaching federal gun laws. I am optimistic that the governor will sign this legislation into law.” Following the bill's signing by Gov. Parsons, Burlison commented:
"What we're doing today is taking a stand against a tyrannical federal government. We are telling this president that he can go pound sand."
January's hearing also heard from a Benton County woman who testified, "I live way in the country. I've had meth heads down the road break into my place. I've recently got where my life is at stake; one of the head guys down there wants to take me out to join a motorcycle gang."
Details of the Legislation
The bill includes a detailed definition of actions that qualify as “infringement,” including but not limited to:
- Taxes and fees on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services that would have a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
- Registration and tracking schemes applied to firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;
- Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens;
- Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
As pointed out by the Tenth Amendment Center, the federal government depends on state cooperation to execute and enforce most of its laws, regulations, and acts—including gun control. As noted by the National Governors' Association in 2013 during the partial government shutdown, "states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs." Because most enforcement actions rely on support from state and local governments, James Madison's advice in Federalist #46, "refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union," is an efficient way to bring down federal gun control measures. The center explains:
"By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify many federal actions in effect."
With the Biden Administration's promise of stricter gun control laws, Second Amendment sanctuaries are a growing trend across the country and have increased over the past few years. More than 1,200 jurisdictions in 37 states have adopted resolutions opposing the enforcement of state and federal laws that violates the Second Amendment.