UPDATE: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Gov. Sam Brownback has told U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a new Kansas gun law aimed at reining in the federal government has broad support in the state.
Brownback sent a letter Thursday to Holder defending the law, which took effect last week.
He said Kansans hold dear their right to bear arms.
It declares that the federal government has no authority to regulate guns, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept only in Kansas. The law also makes it a felony for a federal agent to enforce any law, regulation, order or treaty covering those items.
He wrote "The people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will. It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so."
Representative Jim Howell says he too believes Kansas is within their constitutional rights and says it's the federal government who is overstepping.
In a letter to Brownback last week, Holder said the law is unconstitutional and that the federal government is willing to go to court over the issue.
The U.S. Attorney for Kansas says he backs the Attorney General.
"When we talk about the possibility of an FBI agent being charged with a felony because their simply doing their job as defined by federal law, that's what makes this law so different from like or similar laws in other states," U.S. Attorney, District of Kansas Barry Grissom said.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has told Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback that a new state law attempting to block federal regulation of some guns is unconstitutional.
The U.S. attorney's office for Kansas on Thursday released a copy of a letter to Brownback from Holder last week, sent the day after the new state law took effect.
The law says the federal government has no authority to regulate guns manufactured, sold and kept only in Kansas and makes it a felony for a federal agent to enforce any regulations of those guns.
Holder said the U.S. Constitution prohibits the state from pre-empting federal laws. He said the federal government is willing to go to court.
Aides to Brownback and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom released the following statement Thursday:
“The new Kansas statute unlawfully threatens to prosecute federal officers for the exercise of their federal duties. The federal law enforcement personnel targeted by this statute are upholding their duties under federal law. In so doing, they are keeping the United States safer. These hard-working federal employees cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution and the continued performance of their federal duties. This type of state effort to interfere with these officers’ federal responsibilities would directly conflict with federal law. Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, no state may seek to prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their official responsibilities. And a state certainly may not criminalize the exercise of federal responsibilities. So this statute is illegal, unenforceable, and also bad policy.”