March 3, 2022 – The United States recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri challenging the constitutionality of the Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act, and seeking an injunction prohibiting Missouri from enforcing it. As we previously reported, the Act 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 constitutionality of the Act was previously challenged by the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County in a petition for a declaratory judgment. That matter is currently pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.
In its complaint, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) alleges that the Act is preempted by federal law, violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity, and is invalid under the Supremacy Clause. Specifically, the DOJ claims that “the overall purpose and effect of [the Act] are thus to nullify federal firearm laws and to affirmatively interfere with their enforcement.”  Similar to the prior actions filed in Missouri state court, the DOJ contends that joint law enforcement operations have already been impeded by the Act which, in turn, presents a danger to public safety.
Unlike the state court action where procedural and technical matters may prevent the Missouri Supreme Court from addressing the constitutionality of the Act, the District Court will likely have the opportunity to rule on the core constitutional issues. Specifically, these issues concern 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.  If you have any questions about this case or the Second Amendment, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.