Heartland law enforcement leaders react to Second Amend. Preservation Act being ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Missouri’s controversial Second Amendment Preservation Act is unconstitutional.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:01 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:16 PM CST
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(KFVS) - A federal judge ruled Missouri’s controversial Second Amendment Preservation Act is unconstitutional.

A judge in Kansas City made the ruling earlier on Tuesday, March 7, saying the law violates the supremacy clause of the constitution, which makes clear federal law overrules state law if there’s a conflict.

SAPA became law in August 2021, and almost immediately several key law enforcement leaders in southeast Missouri spoke out against it.

They said the law blocked them from working with their federal partners on any crime involving a firearm.

They also faced devastating fines under the law if they did.

Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair and Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kacey Proctor reacted to the federal judge’s ruling on Tuesday, March 7.

On Tuesday, March 7, Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair reacted to the federal judge’s ruling.

“When I saw that, basically, local and state law enforcement officials are allowed to work with federal law agents again, I was certainly excited to hear that,” Blair said.

He said they pride themselves on working with all other departments--something SAPA prevented on the federal level.

“For us to have been told-you can no longer work with this one group of law enforcement on the crimes that plague us the most. That really tied our hands.”

Now, Blair hopes the federal judge’s ruling brings those partnerships back to life.

“I think what will eventually happen is we’ll go back to doing business the way we did before. Where we could work with the ATF and the FBI on gun charges that targeted our community. And helped us get some of our most violent felons off of our streets.”

Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kacey Proctor also gave a statement about the ruling, saying he knew from the start Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act would not hold up to a constitutional test.

“SAPA in its current form is clearly unconstitutional,” Proctor added. “Prosecutors know it, have known it. And I’m not surprised the court struck it down.”

Almost immediately after SAPA became state law in August 2021, Proctor and other local law enforcement leaders pointed out how it had an immediate negative impact on the work they do.

“This bill places the burden of its enforcement directly on the backs of local law enforcement officers who are trying to do their jobs to take the most dangerous criminals that society has to offer off our streets.”

Proctor also shared some advice for local law enforcement.

“My advice to local law enforcement is they can resume talks with their federal partners about cases and about strategies for trying to bring dangerous criminals to justice,” Proctor said. “I’m going to advise them not to go jump head first into federal task forces like they were prior to the passage of SAPA until we wait and see what the 8th circuit does with the appeal that comes from the Attorney General’s office.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wasted no time in responding to that ruling, saying he plans to appeal.

In a statement, Bailey said, “I will protect the Constitution, which includes defending Missourians’ fundamental right to bear arms. We are prepared to defend this statute to the highest court.”

Bailey’s appeal will land in Missouri’s 8th circuit court of appeals. No word on how quickly that will happen.