JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After two days of contention on the House floor, a bill proponents said would create additional protections for the right to bear arms is headed to the upper chamber.
HB 85, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, creates the Second Amendment Preservation Act. The legislation would allow state gun laws to supersede federal regulations, including ones enacted after the bill’s effective date. The bill passed with an amendment that would also require those who knowingly deprive a Missouri citizen of those rights to be liable for redress for more than $50,000, including law enforcement. The bill included a severability clause, allowing the bill as a whole to survive if parts of it are invalidated.
“I want to thank the body and the law enforcement that’s worked with me to get the amendment right, and I want to thank the body for moving the bill along,” Taylor said on the floor.
The bill came before the body for perfection Wednesday but was sent to fiscal review after the amendment was adopted. The lower chamber again spent Thursday morning on the bill before voting it out.
Several Democratic representatives spoke against the bill on the floor: Rep. LaKeySha Bosley compared the amendment to a literal effort to defund the police, while Rep. Peter Merideth attempted an amendment to exclude federally licensed firearm dealers.
The bill was ultimately approved by a vote of 103 to 43. Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade decried the legislation shortly after its passage.
“As gun violence continues to spread unchecked in Missouri, House Republicans today advanced dangerous legislation to make the situation far worse,” Quade said in a statement. “House Bill 85 empowers criminals to extract a minimum $50,000 fine – with no upper limit – from local police departments merely for working with federal authorities to remove those lawbreakers from our streets. By defunding police to enrich criminals, House Republicans have failed in their duty to protect the people of this state.”
Taylor sponsored a similar effort last year, but it failed to leave the House before legislators went on hiatus in the spring. The bill has bounced back and forth through the legislature for years, drawing the ire of multiple groups including the mayors of Missouri’s metropolitan areas.