Kansas’ attorney general has asked a federal court to toss out a national gun control group’s challenge of a law that asserts the federal government lacks authority to regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept only in the state.
Republican Derek Schmidt’s motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas seeks to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The group is seeking to overturn a 2013 state law that makes it a felony for any U.S. government employee to attempt to enforce federal regulations for Kansas-only firearms, ammunition or accessories and allows lawsuits by the state attorney general or county prosecutors to block federal enforcement attempts.
“The plaintiffs in this case have not been harmed, there is no actual legal dispute underlying their political and rhetorical complaint, and in any event the Kansas statute is a valid exercise of the state’s authority,” Schmidt said Tuesday in a news release.
The lawsuit, which was filed in July, names Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and Schmidt as defendants. It contends the Kansas law represents an unconstitutional attempt by a state to “nullify” federal gun laws. The Brady Center also argued that if Kansas enforces its law, it will ignore regulations that protect public safety and help law enforcement agencies combat crime.
Kansas’ law is similar to ones in Alaska and Idaho, written to apply to a limited number of guns that supporters believe won’t fall under the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce. But a federal appeals court last year dismissed the argument in striking down a similar 2009 Montana law, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused twice to review the case.
In seeking dismissal of the Brady lawsuit, Kansas argued that its state law seeks to enforce the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment by codifying precedents dealing with interstate commerce and by “punishing violations of the established rights of the people of the State of Kansas.”