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Sovereignty showdown: Kansas plans to defend law shielding state guns from US regulation

Posted May 3, 2013 1:29 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Kansas officials are readying for a clash with the federal government after Attorney General Eric Holder declared that the state’s new gun law is unconstitutional.

The state’s attorney general is seeking $225,000 to defend the state’s Second Amendment Protection Act, signed into law on April 17, the Kansas City Star reports. The law makes it a felony for federal officials to apply U.S. laws to guns that are made in the state and owned in the state, according to the Star and the Washington Times.

Holder said in a letter dated April 26 that the Kansas law violates the supremacy clause. “And a state certainly may not criminalize the exercise of federal responsibilities,” Holder wrote. The attorney general said the United States would “take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary, to prevent the state of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law.”

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback defended the law in a letter to Holder dated May 2. Brownback wrote that Kansans hold dear the right to keep and bear arms. “The people of Kansas are likewise committed to defending the sovereignty of the state of Kansas as guaranteed in the Ninth and 10th amendments to the United States Constitution,” Brownback wrote.

Related coverage:

Pro Publica: “Nullification: How states are making it a felony to enforce federal gun laws”

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