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‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ makes its way forward during final days of session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With the end of session looming, it was down to the wire for a controversial bill proponents say would protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. 

The Senate voted 22-10 to pass HB 85, legislation from Rep. Jered Taylor that would allow state gun laws to supersede federal regulations. It would nullify any federal law that restrict gun ownership, including those related to taxes, tracking, confiscation orders, and prohibitions on possession. 

“It would be a huge step forward for this to pass,” Taylor told The Missouri Times. “This has become a national movement, and this bill would be the strongest version in the United States. Other states have passed their own and been inspired by us, but this would by far be the strongest one.”

With just one day left of session, the bill needs final approval from the House before it’s sent to the governor. 

“We’re standing here today to draw a clear line in the sand and say here in Missouri we will support the Second Amendment and defend our constitutional right to bear arms,” Sen. Dave Schatz told reporters Thursday night. “By passing the Second Amendment Preservation Act, we invoke those constitutional rights and principles adopted by the states that limit the power of the federal government. We will stand up for the citizens of our state.”   

Senate leadership holds a press briefing following the bill’s passage. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/CAMERON GERBER)

The bill was approved in the House by a vote of 103-43 with several Democrats standing to oppose it. While debate can be sped along in the lower chamber, Democrats in the Senate stood on the bill for hours 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 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.”