DOJ Sues Missouri Over Controversial SAPA Gun-Rights Law

The DOJ filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging Missouri’s controversial gun-rights bills passed last year that allow citizens that can prove their Second Amendment rights were violated to sue state or federal agencies for $50,000.

While a separate state lawsuit is pending in the Missouri Supreme Court seeking to overturn the law, DOJ’s lawsuit seeking to block Missouri from enforcing the law was filed in US District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Dubbed the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), the law declared “invalid” federal laws that don’t have an equivalent in Missouri law and could restrict gun ownership among law-abiding Missourians.

It has also scared police departments away from helping the federal government fight violent crime since it dictates that state and local policemen could not enforce federal firearm regulations – holding the departments financially liable if they do so – that could be deemed invalid under the law.

The federal government claims in its lawsuit that SAPA is invalid under the Supremacy Clause, preempted by federal law, and that violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has stressed that SAPS impedes criminal enforcement operations in Missouri, pointing out that the Biden administration will work to ensure that no state and local law enforcement partners are penalized for doing their jobs to keep communities safe.

Underscoring that SAPA strains the important law enforcement partnerships that help keep violent criminals off the street and makes enforcement of federal firearms laws difficult, principal deputy assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton added that no state cannot simply declare federal laws invalid.

SAPA, officially known as House Bill 85, has faced strong opposition from the Biden administration ever since its signing in 2021, with the DOJ deeming it unconstitutional in front of courts last August.

It has also seen opposition from law enforcement officers across the political spectrum.

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