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Attorney general plans to appeal federal judge’s ruling on Missouri gun law


A federal district judge on Tuesday ruled that a Missouri law limiting enforcement of federal gun rules here is unconstitutional and creates more danger for the state's citizens.

Judge Brian Wimes wrote in the opinion issued Tuesday that the entirety of the Second Amendment Preservation Act is unconstitutional.

"While purporting to protest citizens, SAPA exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the Federal Government's ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens," Wimes wrote in his ruling for the plaintiffs, the U.S. government.

Under SAPA, if a Missouri police officer or any other form of law enforcement enforces a federal gun control law that violates a Missourian's Second Amendment rights they could be fined up to $50,000.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey defended the struck-down law in a series of tweets. Bailey, a Republican, promised an appeal.

"As Attorney General, I will protect the Constitution, which includes defending Missourians’ fundamental right to bear arms. We are prepared to defend this statute to the highest court and we anticipate a better result at the Eighth Circuit," he wrote.

U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Missouri) sponsored the bill when he was serving in the Missouri legislature in 2021. Burlison said he's willing to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Our citizens' second amendment rights, which protects all their other rights, is tantamount of importance," Burlison said. "That's why I'm willing to fight for this."

The ruling came out as gun-control advocates were at the Missouri Capitol to lobby lawmakers for changes to state law.

Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action and Everytown America held their annual advocacy day in Jefferson City on Tuesday. The groups met with lawmakers to ask them to vote against two bills being discussed in the legislature.

Columbia mom Kristin Bowen said Moms Demand Action has always felt SAPA is unconstitutional.

"This is a moment that we have been expecting and looking forward to for a long time," Bowen said. "This is a huge moment for us as we try to determine what this is going to mean."

House Bill 70 was passed out of the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday. Introduced by Rep. Chris Dinkins (R-Lesterville), the bill allows for more school personnel to carry guns. 

"We want to make sure that whoever is the school protection officer that it's the best person for that school district and this just allows school boards to have more discretion in who they select to be their school protection officer," Dinkins said.

People on both sides of the gun issue have been pushing legislation in Missouri this year following a school shooting in St. Louis in October. 

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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