Legislation establishing a Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) will be signed into law Saturday afternoon by Missouri’s governor, in the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit. Governor Mike Parson (R) will sign SAPA Saturday at 2 at Frontier Justice.
House Bill 85 is sponsored by State Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) and State Sen. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield). They say it’s about protecting Missourians and gun rights. Critics like former State Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) say the bill is unconstitutional.
HB 85 declares that it’s the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. It also declares as invalid all federal laws that infringe on the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Rural Missourians packed a Missouri Capitol hearing room in January to testify for the bill. Senator Burlison testified at that January hearing, predicting that President Biden’s (D) administration would push for gun control.
“Gun bans directly, magazine bans, attacks on private gun manufacturers, red flag laws and restrictions on individual citizens from buying firearms,” Burlison testified in January. He emphasized that day that his bill does not try to prevent the federal government from enforcing federal gun laws in Missouri.
During the January hearing, senators also heard testimony from a woman who lives in west-central Missouri’s Benton County, who says she needs a gun to protect herself from drug dealers and motorcycle gangs.
“I live way in the country (in Benton County). 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,” the woman testified this year.
Senator Burlison has emphasized that all Missouri gun laws would remain in effect, under SAPA. Burlison sponsored a similar bill in 2013, when he served in the Missouri House. That bill was vetoed by then-Governor Jay Nixon (D). An override attempt that fall failed by one vote.
Former State Rep. Kelly (D-Columbia), a former Boone County circuit judge, says HB 85 is unconstitutional, and that the “sponsors know it is unconstitutional. It has one purpose, to pander to the gun guys,” Kelly says.
Kelly tweeted at Missourinet Thursday evening about SAPA, writing that “it makes several assertions about State power that are constitutionally wrong and silly but also without legal significance because they are just empty talk.”
The Missouri Senate approved SAPA in May by a 22-10 vote. The House approved it 111-42. Both chambers also approved an emergency clause in May, which means that HB 85 will take effect as soon as the governor signs it on Saturday afternoon.
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