JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (March 29, 2021) – The Missouri Sheriffs’ Association is aggressively lobbying state senators to gut the recently House-passed Second Amendment Preservation Act, rendering it worthless in practice. Read on to learn the 4 ways they’re trying to make this happen.
Last month, the Missouri House passed House Bill 85 (HB85) by a wide margin. Sponsored by Jared Taylor (R) and titled the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” the legislation would ban any public officer or employee of the state and its political subdivisions from enforcing all past, present or future “federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances” that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. The bill includes a detailed definition of actions qualifying as “infringement” that would no longer be enforced in Missouri.
You can read more details about the legislation HERE.
But the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) has aggressively lobbied state senators to oppose HB85, claiming that banning them from enforcing current federal gun control – and anything new from the Biden administration – will stop them from “catching criminals.” This is a typical law enforcement scare-tactic. In reality, these law enforcement lobby groups are really only concerned with preserving their “federal partnerships” and all of the federal grant money, asset forfeiture money, and power that go along with them.
The MSA has proposed changes to the bill (download their recommended amendment here) that would ensure state and local cops will continue enforcing all federal gun control, including any new measures on the way from the Biden Administration.
1. Change all federal gun control to just future
The first change would limit the bill to ending enforcement of future federal gun control, ensuring that Missouri law enforcement agencies will continue helping in the enforcement of all the federal gun laws already on the books.
2. Legal Trick to Continue enforcement of everything
The MSA changes would also limit actions that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms to just those federal gun control measures “without a statutory basis.” But the feds claim every executive order, administrative order, rule and regulation has a statutory basis.
It is almost always unconstitutional, but the statutory basis exists nevertheless. Even Trump’s “bump stock” ban was based (erroneously) on a statutory basis. In effect, this language would establish a law that would block state and local enforcement of literally nothing.
“This is a neat legal trick, and I’m sure it’s intentional,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “This line is an obvious attempt to make the entire thing worthless.”
3. “Law-abiding citizens”
Another change would further neuter the bill. As passed by the House, HB85 protects “law-abiding citizens” from federal actions that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. The legislation defines a “law-abiding citizen” as “a person who is not otherwise precluded under state law from possessing a firearm.” The MSA wants to change that definition to “a person who is not otherwise committing a crime under state or federal law by possessing a firearm or firearm accessory.”
With this change, state and local police would enforce all federal gun control because any person violating federal law is, by definition, committing a crime under federal law. In practice, if Congress passed an assault rifle ban, any person in possession of an assault rifle would in violation of that federal law. If HB85 passes with this MSA change, state and local police would enforce that ban. Again, the change would make the entire legislation worthless.
4. Fake Legal Remedies for the People
The MSA also proposed changes to water down legal remedies included in HB85. The proposed MSA language takes the cause of action (right to sue) against a Missouri agency that enforces an infringing federal action – and replaces it with a cause of action against the president of the United States. This is totally irrelevant in a bill that dictates what Missouri officials can and cannot do, and would in no way punish state officials who violate the law.
WHAT THIS TELLS US
It is clear from these changes that the MSA has no desire to stop federal gun control. In fact, it appears they want to craft a bill that will empower state and local police to cooperate not only with the enforcement of all existing gun control but every federal gun law that comes down the pike in the future.
When the MSA lobbyists claim to care about the Second Amendment, they are lying. Period.
They are not behaving like people who actually want meaningful protections from a federal gun grab. All they seem to care about is protecting their turf and maintaining cash chow that comes from partnering up with the feds. If there is any doubt about this, read the change to the legislative findings in HB85 proposed by the MSA.
“The general assembly supports all law enforcement activities that are necessary and proper to bring criminals to justice for terrorizing our citizenry. Absent the rule of law and law enforcement there would be only chaos and anarchy. The general assembly supports and encourages law enforcement to work with the federal government to fight crime by way of task forces to seize unlawful substances and property and to bring criminals to justice.” [Emphasis added}
This is federal bootlicking couched in “law and order” language. Meanwhile, the MSA is perfectly happy to toss the “rule of law” into the trash bin when it comes to the Second Amendment and its absolute limits on federal authority.
Grassroots pressure will be crucial if we are to overcome these powerful law enforcement lobbyists. Missouri residents should take the following steps.
- Contact Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and firmly but politely tell him we need the strongest Second Amendment Preservation Act possible as a response to Biden’s promise to infringe on our right to bear arms. You can find his contact information HERE.
- Contact your own state senator with the same message. You can find your state senator HERE.
- Contact your county sheriff and let them know that protecting constitutionally guaranteed rights is more important than partnering with federal enforcement priorities. They should support HB85 and oppose watering it down as MSA is trying to do.