On February 2, 2013, a group of Kansas state representatives introduced House Bill 2199, the Second Amendment Protection Act
, which would make null and void any new federal restrictions – whether passed by Congress, presidential executive order, agency order, rule or regulation – on firearms, magazines, and ammunition.
The key provision of Kansas’ Second Amendment Protection Act reads:
It is unlawful for any official, agent or employee of the government of the United States, or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States to enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States upon a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas. Violation of this section is a severity level 10 nonperson felony.
The purpose of this new SAPA is to guarantee that the people of Kansas’ Second Amendment rights are not curtailed or trampled on in any manner or form by the federal government. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
At the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, in December 1791, it was understood that the militia meant the free able-bodied citizenry of the country. In 1788, Richard Henry Lee, signatory to the Declaration of Independence and subsequent Articles of Confederation, explained the meaning of the term militia, as understood at the time, and the imperative for citizens to be armed. Lee wrote, “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves … and include all men capable of bearing arms.… To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms….”
During the Massachusetts’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution in 1788, Samuel Adams also explained, “…The said Constitution [is to] be never construed …to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
In volume 1, page 300, of St. George Tucker’s edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries: With Notes and Reference (1803), which was the most popular legal commentary of its day, Tucker stated:
“The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever … the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”
St. George Tucker was an attorney and a military officer who was wounded twice during the American Revolution, and was one of the leaders of the 1786 Annapolis Convention, which paved the way for the subsequent Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. Tucker was a law professor at the College of William and Mary, and served as a justice in the Supreme Court of Virginia. President James Madison later appointed him as a federal judge.
In addition to the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the State of Kansas states, “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…”
The right to keep and bear arms is one of the most essential components enshrined in both the Bill of the Rights and the Kansas State Constitution in order to secure the preservation of one’s liberty and property. The proposed Second Amendment Protection Act further strengthens this right by rejecting any newly created encroachment by the federal government and imposing criminal charges on any federal agent that would enforce any such violation of both the Constitution of the United States and the Kansas State Constitution.
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