On Tuesday, April 16, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas (shown in photo) signed a bill purporting to safeguard the constitutionally protected right of Kansans to keep and bear arms.
Titled the Second Amendment Protection Act, SB 102 declares:
The second amendment to the constitution of the United States reserves to the people, individually, the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Kansas was admitted to statehood in 1861, and the guaranty of that right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Kansas and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861.
Praise for the measure has come from many in the liberty community who view the act as a forceful counterattack to the federal assault on the Second Amendment.
Admittedly, several sections of the act use very strong and unequivocal language to defend the right of citizens of the Sunflower State to own firearms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. For example, Section 6(a) of the bill declares:
"Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas."
That is undeniably a very firm and constitutionally sound rejection of recent attempts by the federal government (both those planned and those already perpetrated) to unlawfully infringe on the right of Americans to own weapons. For this, the Kansas legislature and Governor Brownback deserve the praise they have received.
However, the next section of the new law, Section 6(b), seems to sap some of the strength from this otherwise potent statute. As amended by the state House of Representatives, Section 6(b) reads:
No official, agent or employee of the state of Kansas, or any political subdivision thereof, shall enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States regarding any personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas. [Emphasis added.]
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Photo of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback: AP Images