April 14, 2013

Sedgwick County commissioner seeks support of Second Amendment

A Sedgwick County commissioner wants to see the commission speak in a unified voice in support of the Second Amendment.

A Sedgwick County commissioner wants to see the commission speak in a unified voice in support of the Second Amendment.

Richard Ranzau has placed a resolution on the commission’s agenda for Wednesday calling for that support. The resolution also may be discussed Tuesday during the commissioners’ meeting with county staff.

“I think it’s important that elected officials stand up for the rights of their constituents,” Ranzau said. “The more voices we have speaking in unison, it may send a message to the federal government.”

After all, he said, “People on the other side are banding together.”

The resolution, which is not binding, calls for the preservation of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

It calls on the county not to “enforce any international, federal, state or local statute, ordinance, resolution, executive order, regulation, proclamation or treaty” that conflicts with the Second Amendment and the Kansas Bill of Rights. The resolution also calls for Congress, the Kansas governor and Legislature and all elected state officials to take similar action in upholding the Second Amendment.

Ranzau said the resolution is based on what Seward County, in southwest Kansas, adopted in February.

Actually, it comes from a boilerplate resolution being used recently by a number of cities and counties across the country. The language is almost identical in the resolutions.

Syracuse, in western Kansas, adopted the resolution in March, claiming to be the first city in the state to do so.

Ranzau said his resolution is primarily to “address the issue and concerns that we’re having at the federal and international levels.”

He said he is concerned about proposed federal laws that would restrict gun ownership and the Arms Trade Treaty that was passed earlier this month by the United Nations’ General Assembly.

Opponents of the treaty are concerned it has the potential to supersede U.S. sovereignty and gun rights. Observers doubt the Senate will ratify the treaty.

Although the resolution asks the state to support the Second Amendment, Ranzau said, “We haven’t had a problem in Kansas.”

Two gun-related bills passed by the Legislature this year are awaiting action by Gov. Sam Brownback.

One bill allows schools to pick teachers or other employees to carry concealed guns on school grounds. The other bill says Kansas-made guns are immune from federal regulations inside the state.

Commission Chairman Jim Skelton said Friday he was still reviewing the resolution.

“I’m inclined to support it,” Skelton said, noting he is a lifetime member of the NRA and hunter.

He said the commission has to make sure there’s nothing in the resolution that would violate federal or state law.

Commissioner Tim Norton said he expected the resolution to be discussed at the Tuesday’s staff meeting.

“We’ll hash out if it’s appropriate, if it’s needed,” he said. “I certainly have emotions about those kinds of resolutions, but I’m going to forgo those for now as we go into discussion. I’m going to keep an open mind.”

In 2011, Ranzau initiated commission action that allowed people with a concealed-carry permit to take their guns into many county facilities. Norton was the only commissioner to vote against the measure.

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