It came down to the wire, but lawmakers in Jefferson City, Missouri gave the green light to a bill that will prevent state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities on any new gun control laws coming out of Washington, D.C.
There was just one hour left in the legislative session when House members finally voted on the Second Amendment Preservation Act late Friday night, approving the bill by a vote of 111-42. The state Senate had already signed off on the measure, but not before amending it, and the House still needed to sign off on those changes before the clock ran out. Despite attempts by Democrats to stonewall the bill, the legislation is now headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk, and the governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
Democrats in the Senate stood on the bill for several hours Thursday during an attempt by Sen. Lauren Arthur to attach an amendment that would bar individuals convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. The amendment is part of an effort by lawmakers to fix the domestic violence loophole that opened when Missouri expanded concealed carry in 2016.
Senate leadership backed the measure in the upper chamber; Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden said going into this final week of session that passing SAPA was a priority.
“The Constitution is a binding contract with the American people that can’t be disregarded just to suit the interest of whoever holds the power in Washington,” he said. “Passing SAPA today sends a strong message not only to Missourians but to the rest of the country that Missouri will protect and defend our constitutional rights.”
“I want to thank the leadership of Sens. Rowden and Schatz on the Second Amendment Preservation Act,” Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said. “They took a lot of arrows over the past few weeks that were false. … I knew that they were going to come through and deliver for Missourians.”
The Missouri bill is one of about a dozen Second Amendment Preservation/Sanctuary measures introduced in statehouses around the country this year, and while the final version of the bill is a little different than the original proposal, the final legislation provides new protections against federal incursions on the right to keep and bear arms. As you can imagine, anti-gun Democrats aren’t happy about it.
Rep. Peter Merideth, a St. Louis Democrat, said a rise in fringe thinking has accompanied a rise in violent crime in Missouri and the nation.
Invoking the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Merideth said “passing bills like this with unanimous support by the majority party emboldens the people with these really outside views.”
The bill bars local police from assisting federal agents in enforcing those laws and prohibits them from hiring former federal agents who had enforced them. There would be exceptions for cases in which the federal agents are enforcing gun restrictions that also exist in Missouri law.
I hate to break it to Merideth, but given the fact that the legislation was approved with the unanimous support of the majority party in both the state Senate and House, he and his Democratic colleagues actually represent the fringe position in the legislature.
There’s absolutely nothing in the bill that will encourage violence, either personal or political. It simply mandates that Missouri-based law enforcement not cooperate with any federal agencies in the enforcement of new federal gun control laws. I understand why Democrats don’t like the bill, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a popular position to take in red states, and frankly, it’s no different than Democrat-controlled states like California declaring that local police can’t help to enforce federal immigration law. If they really have an issue with states declining to cooperate with the feds when it comes to federal law, they could start by repealing their own sanctuary city and sanctuary state laws protecting illegal immigrants.