At the heart of the issue is Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act — dubbed SAPA — which took effect in August. It declares federal laws that could restrict gun ownership among law-abiding Missourians as “invalid” and restricts law enforcement officers from enforcing federal firearm regulations that could be deemed invalid under the law.
SAPA has garnered national media attention, and some prosecutors and law enforcement officers have expressed concern that the law could hinder them from working with federal officers to curb violent crime — an argument made by Greitens, a Republican, as he runs for U.S. Senate.
“Unfortunately some of the career politicians and the RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] … what they’ve done in this bill, is they’ve actually defunded police,” Greitens said in a recent radio interview, using the pejorative for Republicans who may be viewed as left-leaning.
The former governor continued to argue police officers have been pulled off task forces targeting violent criminals
In a lengthy video, Aaron Dorr of the Missouri Firearms Coalition implored Greitens to apologize to grassroots gun owners and the Republican bill sponsors, Rep. Jered Taylor and Sen. Eric Burlison, calling his comments “virtually unforgivable.” Dorr also pushed back against the arguments that SAPA defunds the police or prevents work with federal officers.
“Every single thing he said on the policy was an embarrassment, and it was wrong, and it was a lie,” Dorr said.
Dorr continued to castigate Greitens for not advancing pro-gun ownership policies during his tenure as Missouri’s governor. (Greitens served as Missouri’s 56th governor for 1.5 years before he resigned amid campaign finance and sexual misconduct allegations while facing possible impeachment.)
“Despite all of your fancy campaign videos, Eric, you did nothing for gun owners when you were governor. You did harmful things, in fact, instead,” Dorr said. “So start by apologizing to everybody for doing nothing when you were in a position to actually help us.”
“Eric Greitens clearly doesn’t understand how important the Second Amendment is to Missourians,” Taylor said. “He obviously doesn’t understand what SAPA does and it’s clear he didn’t read it. Greitens is taking his talking points from the Democrats.”
A Greitens campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greitens is among several GOP contenders to replace outgoing Senator Roy Blunt. Also running for the GOP nomination are Congressman Billy Long, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and attorney Mark McCloskey.
“The Second Amendment is under attack by Joe Biden and gun-grabbers on the left,” Long told The Missouri Times. “Recently, Eric Greitens criticized and attacked Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act law, which protects Missourians from federal overreach and any changes the Democrats attempt to make on the Second Amendment. Why is Eric Greitens siding with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the liberals on this? I always have and always will protect this fundamental right of Missourians.”
On an upcoming episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics,” Schatz said passing SAPA was one of the “top priorities” for the previous legislative session.
“I think it was critical and important that we got SAPA passed. I don’t know how you constitute that as defunding the police,” Schatz said.
Schmitt has defended SAPA in his role as attorney general. He previously said, “Missourians’ and Americans’ Second Amendment rights are enshrined in the Constitution. I will defend those rights at every turn.”
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.