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Legislature approves Second Amendment Preservation Act 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With an hour left in session, the Missouri House gave final approval to a controversial bill proponents say would protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. 

The House voted 111-42 to finally pass HB 85, legislation from Rep. Jered Taylor that would allow state gun laws to supersede federal regulations. Known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), it would nullify any federal law that restricts gun ownership, including those related to taxes, tracking, confiscation orders, and prohibitions on possession. Another section would require those who knowingly deprive a Missouri citizen of those rights to be liable for redress for $50,000, including law enforcement departments.

“We are doing this bill because the Second Amendment is under attack,” Taylor said. “This is gun policy agnostic; we are saying in our state that we know best rather than some federal politician from California or Illinois. … I want to thank all the people and groups who have helped with this.” 

Rep. Peter Merideth rose to speak against the bill, saying it would encourage fringe groups and denouncing the rejection of an amendment in the upper chamber. 

“This could actually give domestic abusers a defense in court that they would be able to sue a sheriff’s department if they say they aren’t allowed to have that gun,” he said. “It’s embarrassing for our state for us to pass this bill claiming federal law is void and unconstitutional.”

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.”