Gun Grandstanding?

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 4 months ago

Is that what this is?

A state law that exempts firearms manufactured in Kansas from all federal regulations has drawn a lot of attention recently — from both supporters and critics.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has filed a lawsuit about the 2013 law that declares the federal government has no authority to regulate guns, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas. The Brady Center said the law is an unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal gun laws.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign used the lawsuit as a springboard to send out a fundraising email saying the Brady Center was suing the governor “for protecting the Second Amendment rights of Kansans.”

Regardless of which side of this debate you’re on, the “Second Amendment Protection Act” certainly raises some interesting issues.

The statute makes it a felony for any federal employee to enforce federal gun regulations on Kansas only-weapons. It also says no state or local officials can attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations on Kansas-only weapons.

The Brady Center lawsuit already guarantees that this state law is headed to federal court. What will happen if the state tries to charge a federal official with a felony for trying to enforce a federal law?

The law declares that Kansas-only guns are exempt from any federal regulations. So what, if any, regulations will those firearms be subject to? Will Kansas manufacturers now be allowed to make guns without serial numbers, making it difficult to trace any gun involved in a crime? Can they legally make guns that can elude mental detectors or other security devices? Can such guns be sold without the background checks required by federal law? …

It’s pretty obvious that the Second Amendment Protection Act was intended more as a political protest than as a practical benefit for Kansans. Only time will tell how many tax dollars the state will spend to defend a law that has little chance of standing up to constitutional scrutiny.

I don’t know if the fine people of Kansas have the brawn to take this to its logical conclusion or not.  If it’s political grandstanding as the editorial says, then they wasted their time and made a mockery of themselves and the legislative process.  If they intend to fold like a cheap tent at the first sign of a federal judge who has become indignant over this, then they should have stayed home.  Their laws are worthless, and that means that the folks in Kansas have no reason to respect the other laws any more than the feds respect this one.  It’s one sure way to lose the mandate of heaven.

But … if they intend to press the issue, then this will stand out as a great case study in nullification.  Nullification could be interpreted as state nullification of onerous federal laws, or jury nullification of prosecutor’s cases in federal court by turning their heads.  After all, federal laws are meaningless if not enforced, and actual, real people must enforce them.

What will happen “if the state tries to charge a federal official with a felony for trying to enforce a federal law?”  The federal official should be put in the state penitentiary with the general prison population for breaking state laws, and state law enforcement shouldn’t cower to federal LEOs while they’re doing this.

The answer to all of the questions about what will happen if, when and how, is that state laws, whatever they are at the time, will be enforced and federal laws will be ignored.  Question(s) posed, question(s) answered without fuss.  But there is the dark possibility that the editorial page has the politicians’ number.  Will they show themselves to be all bark and no bite?  The folks in Kansas might want to frame the issue for their representatives, if you know what I mean.

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You are currently reading "Gun Grandstanding?", entry #12508 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Gun Control,Guns,Politics and was published July 21st, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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