Gun bill – State lawmakers seized an opportunity to try to outlaw local control over carrying of guns in public. But the state should exercise care when telling cities and counties how to handle matters related to public safety. No two communities are the same, after all. Local elected officials have the best feel for what’s appropriate in their own backyards, and should be allowed to craft policies accordingly – especially when it comes to something as serious as guns.
The Kansas Senate’s shameful treatment of proposed legislation that would have opened to public scrutiny the probable cause affidavits that law enforcement officials and prosecutors use to obtain search and arrest warrants was a disservice to all Kansans. The Fourth Amendment protects this country’s citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Without access to the probable cause affidavits used to obtain search and arrest warrants, citizens have no way of knowing whether the actions of law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and even the judges who sign off on the warrants, pass constitutional muster.
Any legislator who supports open government or is worried about unwarranted government incursions into citizens’ private lives should be embarrassed that Kansas keeps probable cause affidavits closed – and that Senate leaders apparently believe that is perfectly all right.