On February 7, 2022, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act (the “Act”) in the case of City of St. Louis v. State of Missouri.  The Act, which was signed into law by Governor Mike Parson last Summer, states that “all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations,” that infringe on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, including, but not limited to, the entirety of the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act, shall be invalid in Missouri.  The Act further states that no officers or employees of Missouri shall attempt to enforce any of the above provisions, and that any federal official attempting to enforce federal firearms laws in Missouri is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.  The Act authorizes a private action for declaratory judgment and damages against any person or entity attempting to enforce the above provisions. 
The City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County (“challengers”) filed a petition for a declaratory judgment that the Act is unconstitutional and a preliminary injunction staying enforcement of the Act.  The challengers explained that they participate in various task forces with federal law enforcement agencies, that often result in arrests for federal firearms offenses.  They argued that their officers face potential liability under the Act, and that lawsuits have already been filed against them pursuant to the Act.  In August 2021, the Missouri Circuit Court dismissed the challenger’s lawsuit in response to a motion for judgment on the pleadings. It held that the challengers had an adequate remedy at law because they could challenge the constitutionality of the Act in the other cases brought against them based on the Act.  The challengers appealed the dismissal to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Missouri Supreme Court must resolve several procedural and technical matters in connection with the appeal.  Those issues may prevent it from addressing the constitutionality of the Act at this time.  This was highlighted during the February 7 oral argument before the court.  The questions posed by the justices were focused on whether the other cases brought against the challengers are the proper arena to resolve issues regarding the Act’s constitutionality.  The challenges to the constitutionality of the Act highlight important issues concerning the powers reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment, as well as the scope of the federal government’s regulatory authority, including whether the Act violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (which states that the U.S. Constitution and federal laws take precedence over any state or local law). 
Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor this case, which is likely to have a significant impact on Second Amendment rights around the country.  If you have any questions about this case or the Second Amendment, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.