Gov. Sam Brownback signed HB2578, which comprehensively expands gun rights in Kansas this week. (Photo credit: US News)
A bill that would overturn city and county gun laws, expand open carry, and speed up NFA transfers was signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Tuesday.
The new law will expand open carry in the Sunflower state while speeding up Class III device applications and limiting taxpayer funds for gun buybacks. The bill had previously passed both the state House and Senate by extremely large margins.
“Kansans have long believed the right to bear arms is a constitutional right,” Gov. Sam Brownback said in a short statement announcing the signing.
The legislation, which blended SB 447 with HB 2578, takes aim at a number of issues in its expansive text.
Besides allowing increased open carry opportunities in the state, it also would prevent cities and counties from regulating firearms sales or how guns are stored or transported. While local governments could still prohibit open carry in public buildings if they wish, they would be limited in their powers outside of that narrow scope.
In an effort to help remove roadblocks to those wanting NFA-regulated items like suppressors and short-barreled rifles, the bill includes a “shall certify” requirement that a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) must sign off on an application to transfer such an item within fifteen days, as long as the applicant is not prohibited from possessing it.
Finally, the bill would ban public funds from gun buybacks and order that guns seized by law enforcement either be sold to a licensed gun dealer (FFL) or donated to hunter education programs.
Opponents of the measure took exception not only to the bill itself but also to Brownback’s timing, coming just two weeks after a man with past ties to white supremacy groups allegedly shot three people at a Jewish community center in the state.
“It is outrageous. It’s contrary to public safety, and it’s undemocratic,” said Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “This is certainly one of the more extreme pre-emption laws that I’ve seen.”
The bill had received widespread support of from both the National Rifle Association (NRA) as well as the Kansas State Rifle Association (KSRA).
“I feel pretty victorious today,” said Patricia Stoneking, KSRA president, who worked closely with state lawmakers to construct the legislation.
Stoneking explained the new law’s benefits, saying, “Now everyone will know there’s a uniform statewide law and that’s all they have to be familiar with. As people are traveling across Kansas from one jurisdiction to another, you know, they don’t have to worry about what local ordinances say in regards to carrying or transporting firearms.”
This Kansas legislation continues the growing trend nationwide in states moving to limit local gun laws. These so-called preemption laws have long been standard in Florida, while the governors of Mississippi and West Virginia recently signed similar versions in their respective states.
The new Kansas law will take effect on July 1, 2014.
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