Rep. Mike Pompeo accused President Obama of abusing his authority Tuesday after the president announced a series of executive actions on gun control, including plans to close the loophole that allows a person to purchase a firearm at a gun show without a background check.
Pompeo, R-Wichita, said the president was trying “to ... unlawfully infringe upon Americans’ individual and inalienable right to keep and bear arms.” He promised that he planned to “fight any attempt by the president to circumvent Congress, the Supreme Court, and the U.S. Constitution by taking any executive action to unlawfully restrict Kansans’ gun rights.”
Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, also said the president was trying to infringe on the Second Amendment and promised to “fight against any attempts by President Obama to restrict our Constitutional rights.”
Obama pushed back on the notion that requiring background checks at gun shows and for Internet sales infringed on the Second Amendment.
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“If a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safely and responsibly. This is not seen as an infringement on the Second Amendment … this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm,” the president said during his address.
In Topeka, Obama’s executive actions received criticism from state policymakers. Attorney General Derek Schmidt questioned the constitutionality, saying in an e-mail that “nobody – not even the President of the United States – is free to ignore or essentially rewrite laws they disagree with. Under our Constitution, that is the sole purview of the people’s elected representatives in Congress.”
Gov. Sam Brownback’s office said in a statement that Obama “displayed a flagrant disregard for the American legislative process...announcing far-reaching Executive Orders aimed to deconstruct this basic right.” Brownback signed legislation last year that eliminated a training requirement for carrying concealed firearms and made Kansas one of a handful of states to allow concealed carry without a permit.
Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, who has helped spearhead efforts to loosen gun laws at the state level, said in an e-mail that the president’s executive action “ignores the will of Congress and the American people.”
“In Kansas, we know the 2nd Amendment ensures liberty and protects our personal safety. For this reason, laws designed to protect the right to keep and bear arms in our state continually receive overwhelming, bi-partisan support,” Bruce said. “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. It’s about the freedom to protect oneself and loved ones from those that wish them harm. I believe these actions will make us less safe.”
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, the top Democrat in the Kansas Senate, said he expected that the president’s reliance on an executive action to circumvent Congress would generate debate, but that he did not see a problem with closing the gun-show loophole specifically.
“I would think Congress needs to debate it, but the gun-show loophole is something that has been a problem for a number of years,” Hensley said.