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Advocates For Domestic Violence Survivors Urge Missouri Supreme Court To Strike Down Unconstitutional ‘Nullification’ Law


Everytown Law Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Jefferson City, MO – In an amicus brief filed yesterday, the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MOCADSV) is urging the Missouri Supreme Court to review and strike down Missouri’s recently enacted law purporting to nullify federal gun laws. Everytown Law, the litigation team affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, represents MOCADSV together with Williams Dirks Dameron LLC of Kansas City, Missouri.  

In August, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the pending challenge to the law, arguing that the law is clearly unconstitutional and submitting new evidence that it is already hampering joint drug and weapons investigations. Everytown Law previously released a memo urging the Department of Justice to take similar action regarding an Arkansas law that also purports to nullify federal gun laws.

“Every time we think Missouri firearm laws cannot become weaker at protecting domestic violence victims, they do,” said Jennifer Carter Dochler, Public Policy Director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “SAPA threatens to worsen Missouri’s deadly domestic violence crisis by making it more likely that abusers will obtain and possess firearms free of any law enforcement consequences.”

“By effectively nullifying federal laws prohibiting and punishing gun possession by domestic abusers, this dangerous law puts survivors of domestic violence at further risk,” said Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law. “As the Department of Justice has said, it is plainly unconstitutional. Domestic violence survivors deserve all of the protections of federal law, and we believe the Missouri Supreme Court has a responsibility to restore them.” 

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence unites Missourians with a shared value that rape and abuse must end, and advances this through education, alliance, research and public policy. MOCADSV has been addressing domestic and sexual violence in Missouri for more than 40 years. The majority of domestic and sexual violence agencies, laws, and policies benefitting survivors today were started and developed with help from MOCADSV. Since its beginning, MOCADSV has worked to ensure advocates and allied professionals have the tools and resources they need to change laws and change lives.

The Everytown Law attorneys on the brief are Eric Tirschwell, Aaron Esty, and Nina Sudarsan. 

Key quotes from the brief:

“Domestic violence is all too common across the country and in Missouri. But it is the presence of guns in the hands of abusers that frequently turns domestic violence lethal. It is imperative that abusers’ access to firearms be limited to protect domestic violence survivors.”

“[W]ell-established social science research shows that the presence of firearms turns domestic violence situations deadly. While federal law restricts abusers’ access to firearms, SAPA effectively nullifies these protections, leaving victims of domestic violence vulnerable to an increased risk of being threatened, shot at, or killed in their homes, and an increased risk of their children facing the same dangers.”