Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (shown in photo) isn’t backing down.
As we reported yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Brownback informing him that the Obama administration would ignore a new Kansas law nullifying federal gun control laws. Furthermore, Holder warned the governor that federal agents would “take all appropriate actions” to enforce federal gun control laws, calling the Kansas statute “unconstitutional.”
In a response to Holder's letter sent on May 2, Brownback defends his state’s right to protect its citizens’ right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
“The right to keep and bear arms is a right that Kansans hold dear. It is a right enshrined not only in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, but also protected by the Kansas Bill of Rights,” Brownback writes. “The people of Kansas have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to protecting this fundamental right. The people of Kansas are likewise committed to defending the sovereignty of the State of Kansas as guaranteed in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
The Ninth Amendment states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” while the Tenth Amendment expressly reserves to the states and to the people all powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the Constitution.
The statute at issue — the Second Amendment Protection Act — was passed by the state legislature by an overwhelming majority and signed into law by the governor on April 16. Although the final version of the law was not as potent as originally drafted, it remains a laudable example of a state exercising its constitutional prerogative to resist — nullify — unconstitutional federal acts.
Nullification is a concept of constitutional law recognizing the right of each state to nullify, or invalidate, any federal measure that exceeds the few and defined powers allowed the federal government as enumerated in the Constitution.
Nullification exists as a right of the states because the sovereign states formed the union, and as creators of the compact, they hold ultimate authority as to the limits of the power of the central government to enact laws that are applicable to the states and the citizens thereof.
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Photo of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback