We’ve seen many states propose legislation that nullifies federal power grabs like Obamacare or the TSA. While some of those efforts may have passed the respective state Houses, most of them haven’t made it to the governors’ desks. And when they do, we don’t know whether or not the governors will agree to sign them.
In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill into law that originally nullified any federal action pertaining to gun control. It read, in part:
“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.”
The law addressed the definition of the Second Amendment. In other words, what constitutes an infringement of the 2nd Amendment, and what is covered or not covered by it? It defined the 2nd Amendment as how it was understood in 1861, when Kansas was admitted to statehood.
The bill even criminalized anyone’s attempt to enforce federal laws that encroached on the 2nd Amendment liberties of Kansans. From The New American:
“The bill has real teeth, as it expands on its declarations that any of these federal government intrusions is null and void. It prohibits any employee of Kansas from helping the federal government to enforce these intrusions and declares as unlawful any attempts by any federal government employee to enforce such intrusions, making such efforts a felony in the state. It not only covers individual citizens in the state but also protects manufacturers of firearms or firearms parts or suppliers to those manufacturers. In other words, if it has anything to do with firearms in the state of Kansas, the federal government cannot do anything that the state considers to be unconstitutional.”
Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. The bill in its original form was not what was signed into law by the Kansas Governor. The law was amended slightly by shifting a few words around, and as a result, has lost a lot of its teeth:
“[The amended version] leaves those citizens who own firearms manufactured in other states (or countries, for that matter) outside the zone of this law’s protections. Furthermore, the original bill stated that firearms dealers operating in Kansas were prohibited from enforcing federal gun control laws, while the amended version essentially restricts the prohibition to state officials and employees.”
On the bright side, this is the first attempted gun control nullification bill that has been signed into law in the U.S. This year, there have been over 30 state legislatures that have proposed federal gun control nullification bills, but none of them have been signed into law. At least Kansas is in the right direction, and hopefully other states will follow and enact more stringent nullification laws.