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House panel advances bill to shield Kansas from federal gun laws

  • Eagle Topeka bureau
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, at 10:07 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at 7:23 p.m.

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— A bill that aims to shield Kansas from potentially unconstitutional federal gun-control laws advanced to the House on Wednesday.

The Second Amendment Protection Act, approved by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, says any gun with “Made in Kansas” stamped on it is exempt from federal laws being discussed in Washington in the wake of the mass murder of schoolchildren in Connecticut in December.

Federal officials who try to enforce federal gun-control laws that violate the proposed Kansas law could be arrested and prosecuted on felony charges. Several other states are considering similar measures.

Lawmakers jettisoned a controversial portion of the bill that said no doctors, except psychiatrists, could ask patients if they own a gun. That idea was criticized by the Kansas Medical Society and others who said it would violate doctors’ free speech rights.

Shawnee Republican Rep. John Rubin said he was willing to let that aspect of the bill die in order to ensure the rest won approval.

At least 50 lawmakers, including several Democrats, sponsored the bill, making it likely to pass the 125 member Republican-dominated House.

Officials with the Kansas Attorney General’s office say the proposed law probably couldn’t be enforced because federal laws trump state laws. They said the bill could spur costly lawsuits.

Rubin disagreed, saying Kansas has the 10th Amendment right to regulate guns that are made and owned in-state.

“It’s up to the state of Kansas to regulate Kansas firearms, not to the federal government,” he said. “I think it’s a very important point to make given some of the suggestions I hear being discussed in Congress and by the president with regard to intent to regulate firearms in unconstitutional ways.”

Rubin said Kansas has several businesses that make firearms, ammunition and accessories. He said restrictive laws in other states may lead to more growth in the industry.

“It might actually grow Kansas business and grow jobs,” he said.

President Obama has signed 23 executive orders to reduce gun violence, and federal lawmakers have been discussing several other measures. Obama has also proposed requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, renewal of an expired ban on assault weapons and limits on how many bullets gun magazines can hold.

Reach Brent Wistrom at 785-296-3006 or bwistrom@wichitaeagle.com.

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