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Supreme Court leaves Missouri gun law blocked and in limbo

The U.S. Supreme Court
Eric Baradat
AFP/Getty Images
The U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday left in place a lower court order blocking a Missouri law that invalidates federal gun restrictions.

In 2021, Missouri passed the "Second Amendment Preservation Act" to make federal gun restrictions illegal in the state and bar officials from enforcing any law that would "infringe" upon the right to "bear arms." It also allows "any person" to sue state law-enforcement agencies who don't comply with state law.

The federal government sued, contending that the state law unconstitutionally usurped federal law and made it impossible for federal authorities in the state to carry out their enforcement duties. A federal district court agreed and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling.

Missouri then asked the Supreme Court to intervene, arguing that under the lower court's orders, "the General Assembly can no longer set the bounds of Missouri law enforcement."

That argument was to no avail. On Friday the high court left the lower court decisions in place, effectively preventing the Missouri's law from going back into effect, at least for now.

The only noted dissent was from Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.
Annie Gersh