Kansans own and carry guns currently, but if a Constitutional amendment question is approved on Nov. 2 it will solidify that right, according to supporters.
Question 1 on the Nov. 2 ballot will ask voters to change wording in the Kansas Constitution from the plural to the individual striking the words, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security,” and inserting, “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose.”
State Sen. Tim Huelskamp said he co-authored the resolution to put the question before voters, because the right of individuals to own firearms is not guaranteed in Kansas.
He said under current law, “what could happen, the courts or the governor could declare under certain circumstances that there is no individual right in Kansas.”
In 1905, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the right to own guns in Kansas was a collective right in Blakely v. Salina. The justices ruled that only standing militias could own firearms to defend the state.
“I think it’s safe to say that was a very dangerous interpretation,” Huelskamp said.
Kansans have long exercised the right to own guns, but gun ownership right questions have frequently come before the courts and appeared in legislation at the state house, Huelskamp said.
“This just provides constitutional protections,” Huelskamp said.
However, gun control advocates are calling the measure redundant.
“This is completely ridiculous and unnecessary,” a representative with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told Fox News.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court cases have solidified the right of individuals to own firearms, but the Supreme Court cases were narrowly decided by a divided court.
Huelskamp said when the resolution to change the state Constitution was before state legislature in 2009, a divided Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C. gun ban.
But, Huelskamp said that decision only protected gun ownership in the federally-owned D.C.
“That had no impact on the rest of the nation,” he said.
After the question was legislatively put on the Nov. 2 ballot, Supreme Court Justices overruled a Chicago gun ban earlier this year.
The legislation that put the question on the ballot received very limited opposition in Topeka. In the state Senate, only one person – Sen. David Haley– voted against the concurring resolution due to its timing.
“I was the one to vote against the resolution, not because I don’t support it, I most certainly do,” he said. “I just didn’t like the timing on the general election ballot. It should’ve been during the primary.”
Huelskamp said the Constitutional change is long overdue.
Kansas gun owners won’t notice any differences if voters approve the measure.
“But this is to prevent a future legislature or governor or court from taking away our Second Amendment rights,” Huelskamp said.
Shall the following be adopted?
§ 4. Individual right to bear arms; armies. The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
A vote for this amendment would constitutionally preserve the right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose.
A vote against this amendment would provide for no constitutional right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose.
Ballot initiative reaffirms state gun rights