A Kansas law that makes it a felony to enforce federal gun laws in the state is facing a challenge by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The Brady Campaign sued Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in federal court on Wednesday calling the bill unconstitutional. The group is suing on behalf of five Kansans who say the Second Amendment Protection Act is design to nullify federal laws.
The bill states that the federal government has no jurisdiction over firearms manufactured or sold in the state of Kansas and anyone enforcing such law can be charged with a felony, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Brownback, who’s up for re-election, sent out a campaign email on Thursday.
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"To put it simply, the gun-grabbers at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence are suing Governor Sam Brownback for protecting the Second Amendment rights of Kansans," the email said. "That’s right, they’re suing him for defending the Constitution."
The director of the Brady Center's Legal Action, Jon Lowry, says the governor’s email is an inappropriate fundraising tool.
“I do think it’s galling that the governor who signed legislation which is likely going to cost Kansas taxpayers thousands of dollars to unsuccessfully defend is now using a lawsuit brought by Kansas citizens to raise money for his personal political campaign," Lowry told the Capital-Journal in a phone interview.
When the bill was introduced last year a representative from Schmidt's office warned that the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause" bars states from waiving federal law.
The Brady Campaign compared the law to “similar efforts by states in the 1950s during the Civil Rights Movement to nullify federal law mandating the integration of black students into all-white public schools.”
“In sweeping language, the Act states that such firearms and accessories are 'not subject to any federal law, treaty, federal regulation, or federal executive action, including any federal firearm or ammunition registration program,” the suit states.
“These vague and undefined prohibitions violate due process rights guaranteed by the United States and Kansas Constitutions,” it says.
The complaint says the bill was co-written by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who recently disclosed ownership interest in gun manufacturer Minuteman Defense LLC.
Brownback’s campaign manager, Mark Dugan, says the Brady Campaign wants to “neuter” Second Amendment rights.
"What's clear is that President Obama and the Brady Center share the goals of neutering Kansas citizens' Second Amendment rights," Dugan said in a statement. "The day after the governor signed the Second Amendment Protection Act he received a letter from President Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, claiming the bill was unconstitutional and now their liberal allies are suing the state of Kansas, citing General Holder's letter in their legal filing."
Image credit: Emily Stanchfield