Missouri asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to revive its controversial law that prohibits local law enforcement from helping federal officials enforce certain federal gun laws.
The Second Amendment Preservation Act imposes up to $50,000 in penalties for assisting with the enforcement of federal laws that the state’s General Assembly believes may be unconstitutional.
The US Justice Department challenged the 2021 law, arguing it is preempted by federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. A district court judge, siding with the Biden administration, blocked the law in March. A federal appeals court declined to put that ruling on hold, prompting Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to come to the Supreme Court.
In an emergency application filed Thursday, Bailey argued the law should be reinstated pending appeal and that the United States does not have the “standing,” or legal injury necessary, to bring the lawsuit.
“State governments cutting off state resources for federal enforcement is not an injury; it is a feature of a State’s settled Tenth Amendment authority,” Bailey told the justices.
In a 24-page decision in March, US District Judge Brian Wimes ruled that the law is “invalidated as unconstitutional in its entirety.”
The law’s “practical effects are counterintuitive to its stated purpose,” added Wimes, a Barack Obama nominee. “While purporting to protect citizens, SAPA exposes citizens to greater harm by interfering with the Federal Government’s ability to enforce lawfully enacted firearms regulations designed by Congress for the purpose of protecting citizens within the limits of the Constitution.”
The law does allow state agencies to assist with enforcement of federal laws that have state analogues, such as those involving felony crimes.
US law enforcement officials previously told CNN that federal agents have encountered a number of issues in the state since the law went into effect because local authorities were worried about potentially violating it.
The Supreme Court asked for a response from the Biden administration by next Tuesday.