My next post was to be about the reaction of Congressional candidate Kevin Yoder to reporters asking about his guilty plea last year. He refused to take a breath test when he was stopped on suspicion of DUI. I would encourage people to visit KMBC.com and look up the story. His absolute refusal to acknowledge the presence of KMBC’s Michael Mahoney was disturbing to me. However, something more disturbing has come to my attention.
In a conversation with my dad yesterday, he asked me what I knew about a constitutional amendment supporting the right to bear arms on the Kansas ballot. I was confused. Mostly because the Constitution already gives us a right to bear arms, and the Supreme Court has said that right applies to the states. Also in research I found that the Kansas Constitution also gives us that right. So how could we put another amendment into the Kansas Constitution that says the same thing?
It turns out they don’t want to. The amendment would merely change the language of Section 4 of the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Currently Section 4 says:
“The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; 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.”
The ballot initiative would change that to:
“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”
I don’t like that. Firstly the change is really unnecessary. Tim Huelskamp, one of the initiatives sponsors said, “It just assures we have an individual right to bear arms, not a collective one.” The Supreme Court already gives us that, and if they chose not to, the state of Kansas has no right to challenge it. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits that. Secondly, the wording is entirely too vague. Specifically, “in defense of self,family, home, and state.” If you combine that with an immigration law like the one in Arizona and you could have private citizens with guns detaining suspected terrorist, or illegal immigrants in “defense of their state.” Does it give a father a right to hunt down and kill someone who kidnaps his children “in defense of his family.” The intent of the amendment which is too make it harder to repeal the right to bear arms is fine. However, the language is vague and the fact is that the right to bear arms is under absolutely no threat. We live in a country where open-carry and concealed carry laws are becoming more common not less.
We should vote no on this measure. It is easy enough to purchase and own a gun in this country and nothing is currently threatening that. It is better to make sure we don’t open the door to those on the fringe thinking that the Kansas Constitution permits anything like vigilante justice.