By early 2017 greater control of guns in any significant form will be off the table, with Donald Trump taking residence — at least part-time — on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Probably just as well. None of any consequence is likely to occur as long as WASPs populate as many seats in Congress as they do, and the National Rifle Association has barrels of money to throw at the issue. Better to spend time on issues of greater national concern.
However, there is a firearms issue that affects Kansans, and needs to be resolved.
Its first stage came to a head in Wichita last week when Shane Cox, a firearms dealer in Chanute, was found guilty of violating federal law in regard to the sale and possession of unregistered firearms and silencers. A customer, Jeremy Kettler also of Chanute, was judged guilty of possessing an unregistered silencer.
The whole matter goes back to a Kansas measure that claims state law supersedes federal regulations, more or less that items manufactured and sold in Kansas are exempt from federal control.
In some respects that’s what led to the Civil War 150-plus years ago, states’ rights — and the right of plantation owners in Southern states to use legions of slaves to cultivate crops and to their way of thinking to preserve the region’s agricultural economy. Northern states, with their industrial base, decried the practice as inhuman. Lincoln’s election in 1860 fomented confrontation.
A more recent comparison may be made to abortion, and efforts in the recent election to unseat Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals justices. Roe vs. Wade in 1973, a 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court decision, protected a woman’s right to abortion, under the 14th Amendment. Kansas justices on this year’s ballot, save one, were set upon for what were characterized as pro-abortion rulings, but in effect they were doing nothing more than upholding federal law.
But back to firearms, and silencers.
Reference is the Second Amendment Protection Act passed by the Legislature in 2013, and signed by Gov. Sam Brownback. Seven other states have similar laws.
Let’s face facts. The act flew through the Legislature with bipartisan support because legislators knew it wouldn’t rankle many feathers and would quietly please donors with deep pockets.
The point in question is whether Kansas will respect federal law, or whether it thinks it has the authority to arrest national government agents if they enforce federal laws that violate the protective Kansas measure.
FROM THE perspective of most citizens, who are just fine with reasonable firearms regulations, why does anyone in Kansas want to own or use a silencer?
It’s difficult to understand why such devices are needed.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how the cases involving Cox and Kettler wind their ways through the court system and if they reach the nation’s highest court.
If that occurs, the Register will put its money on the Supreme Court coming down on the fed’s side, as it well should.
— Bob Johnson