Freedom Center Files Eighth Circuit Brief Defending Second Amendment Preservation Act

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Commentary, Constitutional Structure, Legal Filings, Limited Government

The Freedom Center of Missouri has long been at the forefront of the battle to preserve citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. We helped draft the amendment voters adopted in 2014 to broaden the right of self-defense enshrined in Article I, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution. We helped draft the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) that the state legislature passed and the governor signed in 2021 – this law prohibits state and local officials from assisting in the enforcement of federal firearm laws. We filed a brief at the Missouri Supreme Court when several of the state’s largest municipalities challenged SAPA’s constitutionality. And today we stepped up once again, filing a brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that shows why a federal district judge got it wrong a few months ago when he held that SAPA violated the U.S. Constitution.

The entire brief is available below for anyone who would like to read it, but here’s a brief summary of our argument…

The Biden Administration has argued that SAPA violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which states that if Congress passes a law that is within the authority granted by the Constitution, that federal law will trump any state law or state constitutional provision that conflicts with the federal law. But the U.S. Supreme Court has also repeatedly held that, thanks to the Tenth Amendment, Congress cannot force state legislatures or executive officials to help in enforcing federal laws. Recognizing that the control of state and local police is a power that states have reserved to themselves rather than given to Congress, SAPA simply states that if someone works for the state or one of its subdivisions, they’re not allowed to help enforce most federal firearm laws. This is a choice that the U.S. Constitution allows states to make, as long as they do not actively interfere with federal officials who might try to enforce federal laws within those states. If you’d like to explore these ideas further, we hope you read the brief!