Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law on Tuesday “The Second Amendment Protection Act,” which will attempt to shield all guns made in Kansas and that stay in Kansas from federal gun control laws.
The legislation comes on the coattails of the larger gun control debate on Capitol Hill and the Senate’s recent vote down of the Manchin-Toomey gun bill, which was going to expand background checks. The Kansas bill, however, will likely be struck down as unconstitutional as it is a violation of the commerce clause, which grants Congress the ability to interfere in local affairs if they have greater repercussions for the nation at large.
This precedent was set by the 2005 Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Raich, which dealt with the intrastate production and sale of medical marijuana. It was decided that the federal government could regulate the intrastate commerce of medical marijuana, even if it is only intended to be grown and sold in state, because of its inevitable black-market interstate demand.
Even state Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) admitted he’d like to see gun manufacturers from states with tighter gun laws move to Kansas. It’d be a naïve assumption to think that those out of state gun manufacturers are willing to give up their markets in their more populated home states in order to go share a highly competitive market in a rural state. That’s just bad business.
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Though there is a large Republican base in the state, the legislature is currently divided between moderate and conservative Republicans over reasonable gun laws. The conservatives gained control as of the 2012 election, which led one of the leading moderate Republicans to slam the conservatives, saying they’re turning Kansas into an “ultraconservative utopia.”
It’s a telling sign people are in the wrong when they’re willing to defy existing law in order to get their way.