GOP lawmakers in 2 states seek anti-red flag laws on guns

Posted: Updated:
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

 Republicans in two Midwestern states where GOP-controlled legislatures have gun-rights majorities are proposing measures aimed at preventing the U.S. government or other states from taking guns away from residents whom the courts deem a danger to themselves.

Neither Oklahoma nor Kansas has “red flag”laws through which relatives or police can obtain a court order to remove firearms from someone’s possession. However, the proposals in those also also would prevent local city and county governments from enacting such laws. They would even go so far as to make it a felony for someone to help enforce such an order.

Sponsors said they were inspired by prospects that Congress might enact such a law or offer federal grants to entice states into putting them on the books.

Supporters of red flag laws say they reduce suicides and gun violence and lessen the risk of mass shootings. Gun-rights supporters contend they violate not only the right to own firearms but other constitutional guarantees, such as the right to due legal process, to confront an accuser, and against unreasonable searches and seizures of property.

“There’s numerous violations of the Bill of Rights taking place by these red flags laws,” Tulsa-area Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who is sponsoring Oklahoma’s measure.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have some sort of red flag law, with most enacting them starting in 2018, according groups favoring them and other gun-control measures. Interest in Congress appeared to grow after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

Dahm filed his proposal in September, and it may have been the first of its kind. In Kansas, separate but identical measures were introduced in December by members of the state House and Senate. The two states’ legislatures would consider them after convening their annual sessions next year.

All three measures declare that any gun-removal order from another state or a federal court are null and void, and no state or local agency could accept federal grants that require such orders to be enforced.

The U.S. Constitution prevents states from nullifying federal laws.

“States generally do not have the ability to tell the federal government, ‘Get out of our state and stop enforcing your laws,’” said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican gun-rights supporters who’s not taking a position on the measures. “But states do generally have the ability to tell the federal government, ‘You are not able to commandeer state resources and compel us to enforce your laws.’”

Kansas state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a Kansas City-area Democrat, called the proposals “disturbing” and said they show how extreme gun-rights backers have become in opposing any restrictions over the past decade. She said she wonders whether the proposals are a “publicity stunt” because they’re going beyond trying to block red flag laws.

“It’s a completely different thing to aggressively criminalize something that is intended to minimize death by suicide and murder,” Clayton said. “The last time I checked, murder is bad and so is suicide.”

The Washington-based, nonprofit Brady campaign against gun violence equates red flag measures with laws states have in place to combat domestic violence. Such laws allow abuse victims to get temporary court orders to keep alleged abusers away from them at least until a judge can review their cases.

Christian Heyne, Brady’s vice president of policy, said people generally have to be “an acute risk” to themselves or others to have their guns removed temporarily. He said such laws targeted people “at the highest risk” of suicide or violent behavior.

“Firearms can do damage that knives cannot do,” added Jonathan Lowy, Brady’s chief counsel and legal affairs vice president. “Suicide is another are where the science is clear, that suicide attempts with firearms are much more successful than other means.”

While the Brady campaign and other supporters of red flag laws say they have due-legal-process protections built in, Dahm and other critics argue that they’re open to abuse.

Kansas state Sen. Richard Hilderbrand, a southeast Kansas Republican sponsoring one of his state’s measures, said red-flag laws set the wrong target, “one tool” for someone bent on violence.

“The gun isn’t what caused that mass shooting. That was the instrument that was used,” Hilderbrand said. “The hate in that person’s heart is what caused it, so until we start addressing that, you know, we’re just going down these rabbit holes that lead to nowhere.”

  • NEWSNewsMore>>

  • Democrats appeal for GOP help to convict 'corrupt' Trump

    Democrats appeal for GOP help to convict 'corrupt' Trump

    Wednesday, January 22 2020 11:46 AM EST2020-01-22 16:46:35 GMT
    Wednesday, January 22 2020 8:16 PM EST2020-01-23 01:16:45 GMT
    (Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.(Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.
    (Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.(Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.
    President Donald Trump says he wants top aides to testify in his Senate impeachment trial, but he qualifies that by suggesting there are “national security” concerns that will keep that from happening.
    President Donald Trump says he wants top aides to testify in his Senate impeachment trial, but he qualifies that by suggesting there are “national security” concerns that will keep that from happening.
  • GKN Aerospace hosting career fair near Spirit AeroSystems

    GKN Aerospace hosting career fair near Spirit AeroSystems

    For those who have been laid off from the aerospace industry, there might be a small ray of hope. 

    For those who have been laid off from the aerospace industry, there might be a small ray of hope. 

  • Spirit employees frustrated over company communication

    Spirit employees frustrated over company communication

    A company memo sent out to Spirit employees said that departures for people affected by the recent layoffs would start today, but so far, no word.  “A lot of us have been messaging back and forth this morning and none of us have gotten a call from over here,” said Jill Relph.  Relph is a sheet metal mechanic at Spirit. Without receiving a call from her manager like expected, she decided to just show up for her shift and hope that her badge would let her in the ...
    A company memo sent out to Spirit employees said that departures for people affected by the recent layoffs would start today, but so far, no word.  “A lot of us have been messaging back and forth this morning and none of us have gotten a call from over here,” said Jill Relph.  Relph is a sheet metal mechanic at Spirit. Without receiving a call from her manager like expected, she decided to just show up for her shift and hope that her badge would let her in the ...

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Kansas woman pleads guilty to sexually abusing, starving 5-year-old boy

      A Kansas woman accused of sexually abusing and starving a 5-year-old boy has pleaded guilty.  

    • KU, KSU players suspended for roles in brawl

      Kansas basketball player Silvio De Sousa has been suspended indefinitely for his role in a brawl at the end of Tuesday's game against Kansas State. 

    • Ugly brawl breaks out at end of Kansas State-Kansas game

      Third-ranked Kansas and Kansas State ended their bitter showdown Tuesday night with a wild melee behind the basket that included punches, shoving and at least one player picking up a stool, moments after the Jayhawks tried to dribble out the time on their 81-59 victory.

    • WPTA

      FedEx warns of scam text messages that hack your phone

      A scam that hooks victims via a text that appears to come from FedEx is prompting warnings from the company and from law enforcement agencies.

    • Courtesy KTKA

      Kansas woman dies when car overturns in creek

      A 76-year-old Kansas woman has died after her car went off a highway and flipped into a creek. 

    • Snow creates slick roads across KAKEland

      Winter Weather Advisories are in effect until noon Wednesday for greater Wichita, Hutchinson, and central Kansas. 

    • Yahoo! Sports

      From Kansas to the 49ers, Katie Sowers makes NFL history

      “I remember we would make boys cry,” San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers said, laughing and adding some of that might have come from their technique: Seize “their shirts, spin them around and throw them down.”

    • Blake Bell's parents react to their son going to the Super Bowl

      Mark and Sherry Bell are still on cloud nine after watching their son Blake and the Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC Championship, sending them to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. "Well, one of the most magical moments was, you know, we got to go out on the field for the celebration and to see my son in tears and to see his Dad, and they hugged and they were crying. It just sums up everything we've ever been through all the years of following him in football, ju...
    • Closings & Delays

      The latest list of school and weather-related closings and delays.

    • Man arrested after smartphone app finds Wichita woman's stolen car

      Thanks to a phone app, Wichita police quickly found a car jacking victim's 2019 Ford Escape. Within 24 hours of the crime, investigators tracked it to a quick trip near downtown and took two suspects in for questioning.