Firearms bill aims to skirt changes

2/6/2013

By MARY CLARKIN

By MARY CLARKIN

Special to The Telegram

States across the country — including Kansas — have adopted or are considering legislation declaring that firearms made in that state don't fall under the scope of Congress.

House Bill No. 2199, introduced Friday in the Kansas Statehouse, would recognize "Made in Kansas" firearms that stay in Kansas as exempt from Congress' interstate commerce powers.

The House bill has 50 sponsors, Republicans and Democrats alike. Rep. John Rubin, a Republican attorney from Shawnee, is the lead sponsor.

Rep. Jan Pauls, D-Hutchinson, said there was an announcement that a bill to protect Second Amendment rights was going to be introduced and legislators could help sponsor it.

Pauls is a sponsor and she noted that one clause in the bill states that no physician, other than a psychiatrist, shall inquire of any patient — in conjunction with obtaining the patient's personal information and medical history — whether the patient has firearms in his home.

A lot of military veterans want medical assistance, but don't want to lose their right to have a firearm, Pauls said.

The bill also asserts:

"A personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas, is not subject to any federal law, treaty, federal regulation, or federal executive action, including any federal firearm or ammunition registration program, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce."

Further:

"No official, agent or employee of the state of Kansas, nor any dealer selling any firearm in the state of Kansas, shall enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States regarding any personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufafactured commercial or privately in the state of Kansas and remains within the borders of Kansas."

Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays, says the gun-manufacturing industry isn't big in Kansas, but maybe this legislation would encourage such economic growth.

The Boldra family has long had gun-store ties, and the freshman legislator, who has taught government, said she is a believer in the Second Amendment and constitutional freedom.

"There are bad people out there, and we have lots of laws on the books," Boldra said. "Don't tell me I can't do it, because something might happen."

As for physicians asking about gun ownership, Boldra sees that as "just one way of documenting," and she considers such questioning as "not pertinent."

Rep. Kyle Hoffman, R-Coldwater, is another sponsor and he called the bill "comprehensive."

For example, a firearm assembled in Kansas with components imported into Kansas, would be a Kansas firearm.

Second Amendment rights are "a pretty fundamental freedom that we have in the United States," said Hoffman.

Hoffman said he probably receives more emails urging protection of gun rights than on any another issue.

This won't be the first attempt to pass such legislation in Kansas.

Hoffman said an initial hearing, in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, probably will be held next week.

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