House Bill 85, the ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act,’ sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, proceeded to a closing House floor hearing Wednesday in a 107-43 mostly partisan vote.
The measure would nullify federal laws or “other actions deemed to infringe on a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms,” while claiming not to trespass on federal authority to enforce federal gun laws in Missouri.
All Missouri gun laws would persist in effect under the bill, which is one step away from approval by the chamber and transfer to the Senate where a comparable ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ awaits a first floor hearing.
Sen. Eric Burlison, R-Battlefield, Senate Bill 39 was proposed by the chamber’s General Laws Committee on Jan. 26.
Burlison sponsored the same bill a year ago though did not get a Senate hearing and, most prominently, the 2013 ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ that lawmakers approved yet was vetoed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
Through a Jan. 19 hearing before the General Laws panel, Burlison predicted President Joe Biden’s administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress will seek an aggressive gun control agenda highlighting “gun bans directly, magazine bans, attacks on private gun manufacturers, red flag laws and restrictions on individual citizens from buying firearms.”
That same concern was shown by House Republicans throughout Wednesday’s deliberation on HB 85, countered by Democrats yelling concerns by state law enforcement officials regarding the potential ramifications on task force collaborations with federal agents and grant funding.
Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish has raised concerns with some of the bill’s language and Greene County Sheriff Jim C. Arnott has distributed a letter asking lawmakers to refuse the bill.
“We need state laws that will make it easier to keep our communities safe, not those that have unintended consequences and silence law enforcement officials,” Arnott’s letter stated.
Taylor’s originally filed ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ held individual law enforcement officers accountable to fines and lawsuits if found to “knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce federal gun laws nullified in Missouri.”
Taylor Wednesday obtained approval for an amendment shielding individual law enforcement officers from financial liability though allowing those deemed illegally infringed to sue police departments with violation incurring minimum fines of $50,000.
Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, found Taylor’s amendment to make police departments accountable for paying violation fines and exposed lawsuits a bit ironic.
“In other words,” he queried, “if we don’t like the way a department is behaving, we should defund the police?”
No, Taylor said, but when police violate citizens’ constitutional rights, they must be held accountable.
“We’re not preventing those funds from going to the department,” he concluded.