Court Rules Kansas Law Exempting Guns From Federal Regulations Doesn’t Work

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Court Rules KS Law Exempting Guns From Federal Regs Doesn't Work

The state of Kansas tried something a while back. It was a law that basically stated that if a gun is manufactured and used in the state, without ever crossing state lines, it is exempt from federal gun control laws. It wasn’t that out of left-field, either.

In the Supreme Court case of Gonzales v. Raich, the Court found that Congress could criminalize the production of marijuana under their authority in the Commerce Clause. It’s a gross oversimplification, but part of the reasoning appeared to be that cannabis could easily be transported over state lines and since it wasn’t serialized or anything, there was little that could be done to make sure it stayed in states where it was legal.

Kansas and a small handful of other states decided to pass laws that basically said that guns made in the state, and guns that stayed in the state, could be exempt from federal regulations. Since guns can be serialized and marked as being made in those states, the argument was that this should bypass the Commerce Clause.

After all, the federal government isn’t supposed to have any authority to regulate firearms anyway, especially not in the individual states. The lone exception is the government’s overly broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause.

Of course, the only way to know if this will work for certain is if the case is tested in court. Will this line of reasoning hold up?

Well, it looks like we have a test case in the works.

An appeals court on Tuesday upheld the firearms convictions against two Kansas men who mistakenly believed that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler’s challenges to their federal convictions under the National Firearms Act.

The three-judge panel did not address the constitutionality of the state’s Second Amendment Protection Act, which Kansas defended when intervening in the criminal case. The state gun law says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within Kansas borders are exempt from federal gun control.

Cox was convicted of making and marketing unregistered firearms, and Kettler was convicted for possessing an unregistered gun silencer.

The men challenged the constitutionality of the National Firearms Act, alleging it is an invalid exercise of congressional power and an invasion of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. They also challenged the lower court’s ruling that their reliance on the state law provided no defense to the federal charges.

Separately, Kettler argued further that his prosecution resulted from the dispute between Kansas and the federal government over the Kansas law.

This sets the case up for a potential showdown at the Supreme Court. This would test the argument from Gonzalez since unlike pot, guns can be identified as being from a given state and can be managed to be kept there.

Of course, that all depends on whether the Court will agree to hear the case. That’s something they haven’t done since McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010.

For my own money, I say that they need to. The Court needs to make a firm decision on the side of the Second Amendment. Ideally, it’d issue a ruling that effectively ends all gun control schemes in this country, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. On this one, though, I’d love to see them smack down the government. It would open the door for many other states to permit law-abiding citizens to own and use items they can’t get otherwise without special government permission.

Imagine a world where machine guns and select-fire rifles are sitting in your local gun store, ready for you to pick up whenever you want? It would be glorious.

But first, we’ve got to get the ruling. Here’s hoping and praying.
 

KBCraig

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Gonzales v. Raich just built and expanded upon Wickard v. Filburn, which ruled that a farmer growing wheat on his own farm to feed his own family and his own livestock, is engaged in "interstate commerce".

All of that turns the commerce clause on its head. It was intended that only Congress could regulate interstate commerce, and that states could not erect any barriers against trade from other states. The founders would explode at the notion that Congress had authority to criminalize or regulate purely intrastate commerce on speculation that it might affect someone in another state.
 

Dennis in MA

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Tough call. Anyone make a car that doesn't meet some sort of federal standard that can be driven as long as it's not leaving the state?

What about a lawnmower? Can you make a lawnmower that lacks basic safety equipment that is federally mandated as long as you make it for residents of your state only?

I'm actually not sure on this. This truly is more a Commerce Clause issue than anything. Hopefully the courts will be able to peel away their bias one-way-or-the-other regarding guns and treat this as a CC case only.
 

Brewer

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Brewer

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Hmmm... If Kansas can't home rule then why should MA be able to home rule and require non-standard capacity mags, etc.
I know you ask rhetorically and know the answer, but it just has to be said. Because Kansas took a posture of less regulation and more freedom for the citizen. Polar opposite to the Feds and Mass whose laws view you as a subject. Mass will be allowed to home rule beyond the Feds as long as in the right direction.
 

fshalor

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I spent the last 45 minutes trying to get my head around this one, and I'm not getting it.

Denying cert feels super bad at first.

Now that feelings are addressed, I can focus on thoughts. (Never feel and think at the same time!)

So is this bad logically? Potentially.

I'll need to read a bit more about preemption before making a conclusion. I can say that if they did take this case, that the potential downsides if the lower ruling was upheld would be catastrophic to states rights.

A better candidate for this may be state inspections of motor vehicles. What if MA began requiring all vehicles (even those from FLA for example) to have a valid inspection to travel in state.

(It could happen some day. )

I can't think up another better example.

Would I be fine if MA requires inspections of all vehicles to enter the state? Yes. It's up to MA.

Am I okay with any state infringing on 2A, or any A? NO. Am I okay with a state protecting their interpretation of an amendment? Yes.

NFA is an infringement. Clear as day.

To address the other fed safety requirements? We need a little more Darwin self adjusting .

If we stop teaching people how to run lawn tractors and understand them, we have already lost.
 

xtry51

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This does not surprise me. The court is not going to take ANY case that has the potential to undo NFA/'65/etc. And they certainly are not going to take a case with direct implication to Wickard v. Filburn. This is because literally most of Federal law and regulation is based in whole or some part upon W v F. To overturn it is to basically rule all regulation void.
 

Whutmeworry

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This does not surprise me. The court is not going to take ANY case that has the potential to undo NFA/'65/etc. And they certainly are not going to take a case with direct implication to Wickard v. Filburn. This is because literally most of Federal law and regulation is based in whole or some part upon W v F. To overturn it is to basically rule all regulation void.
Which is what true liberty actually requires.
 
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This does not surprise me. The court is not going to take ANY case that has the potential to undo NFA/'65/etc. And they certainly are not going to take a case with direct implication to Wickard v. Filburn. This is because literally most of Federal law and regulation is based in whole or some part upon W v F. To overturn it is to basically rule all regulation void.
You would essentially need six Scalias and Thomases to overturn Wickard.

And then I will die a happy man. Just overturn Wickard and I can go right then and there. Smiling as we return to Lochner.
 
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These denials are no surprise. SCOTUS is not going to put their stamp on the Second Amendment using NFA cases at this point. What's important is that the issue is still open and maybe ripe at a (much) future date.

This was a pretty routine denial of cert., yet it's getting a fair amount of media attention for such an inconsequential petition.
 

Varmint

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These denials are no surprise. SCOTUS is not going to put their stamp on the Second Amendment using NFA cases at this point. What's important is that the issue is still open and maybe ripe at a (much) future date.

This was a pretty routine denial of cert., yet it's getting a fair amount of media attention for such an inconsequential petition.
The now more 2A friendly court will take cases, but it's gotta be the right ones, this one could have gone many different and not good ways.
 

VetteGirlMA

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As much as I wanted this law to succeed there is the whole supremacy of federal law issue. I don't think this issue is done for yet. The thing is I wonder what this spells for legalized pot and sanctuary states. Maybe the jig is up on all of this now.
 

42!

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I think at some point the issue of states preempting Fed law, or in some way conflicting with Fed law, is going to need to be addressed. Regardless of the reason, whether it be Fed overreach, or States wanting more control, almost doesn't matter. It will need to be settled on a general level. Sanctuary Cities, Firearms regulation that go beyond the clear intent of the Fed, legalizing Marijuana, and on, are all ultimately conflicts of State and Fed law. These conflicts are increasing exponentially and it isn't practical to keep bring each individual item to SCOTUS. Not to mention that doing so is expensive, so we end up with many issues not being addressed. There needs to be a clear means to judge whether a State law preempts the Fed. Is it possible to bundle all the major conflicting laws into one action in the hopes the SCOTUS will take t up and create some means to "test" laws for state/fed conflict?? Whatever the mechanism for this was intended to be, it's clearly broken, so we need to move forward and create something that works.
 

soloman02

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I spent the last 45 minutes trying to get my head around this one, and I'm not getting it.

Denying cert feels super bad at first.

Now that feelings are addressed, I can focus on thoughts. (Never feel and think at the same time!)

So is this bad logically? Potentially.

I'll need to read a bit more about preemption before making a conclusion. I can say that if they did take this case, that the potential downsides if the lower ruling was upheld would be catastrophic to states rights.

A better candidate for this may be state inspections of motor vehicles. What if MA began requiring all vehicles (even those from FLA for example) to have a valid inspection to travel in state.

(It could happen some day. )

I can't think up another better example.

Would I be fine if MA requires inspections of all vehicles to enter the state? Yes. It's up to MA.

Am I okay with any state infringing on 2A, or any A? NO. Am I okay with a state protecting their interpretation of an amendment? Yes.

NFA is an infringement. Clear as day.

To address the other fed safety requirements? We need a little more Darwin self adjusting .

If we stop teaching people how to run lawn tractors and understand them, we have already lost.
Mass would be in direct violation of the interstate compact regarding vehicles that they joined decades ago. Further, there is SCOTUS case law on this IIRC as some state in the midwest tried similar shit (requiring commercial trucks registered in a different state follow their equipment laws) and it was struck down.
 
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The guys who made the guns/suppressors wouldn't be in jail if federal agents were prevented from arresting them. If Kansas is going to make a law that says any gun or accessory made/sold/kept in Kansas is out of Federal reach, then they need to activate the state's national guard to defend people from Federal authorities when they attempt to take them into custody.

That sets up civil war and that's not going to happen, so all the states contemplating similar laws would be better off banding together to make an amendment to the constitution.

28th Amendment:

No laws shall be made mandating registration, regulation, or taxation of firearms, ammunition, firearm or ammunition accessories, magazines or ammunition devices, firearm noise suppressing devices, or otherwise restricting the manufacture, sale, possession, or trade of said firearms and firearm related devices.

I mean, the 2nd Amendment said that in a lot fewer words, but apparently it has to be rebooted like every f***ing movie franchise these days.
 

KBCraig

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Denying cert in this case isn't a surprise. It also doesn't mean the justices who voted against cert are anti-gun.

Justices famously vote against cert in cases where they support the cause, but fear the entire court would rule wrongly.
 

xtry51

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The guys who made the guns/suppressors wouldn't be in jail if federal agents were prevented from arresting them. If Kansas is going to make a law that says any gun or accessory made/sold/kept in Kansas is out of Federal reach, then they need to activate the state's national guard to defend people from Federal authorities when they attempt to take them into custody.

That sets up civil war and that's not going to happen, so all the states contemplating similar laws would be better off banding together to make an amendment to the constitution.

28th Amendment:

No laws shall be made mandating registration, regulation, or taxation of firearms, ammunition, firearm or ammunition accessories, magazines or ammunition devices, firearm noise suppressing devices, or otherwise restricting the manufacture, sale, possession, or trade of said firearms and firearm related devices.

I mean, the 2nd Amendment said that in a lot fewer words, but apparently it has to be rebooted like every f***ing movie franchise these days.
This is short sighted. 2A is not specifically about guns. It's about arms. If you're going to rewrite or "clarify" 2A, I would suggest keeping protections applied to all arms.

No level of government may restrict or tax, the ownership, access to, or carrying of, any arms, whether offensive or defensive in nature. This includes, but is not limited to, all arms ever issued to military troops and police officers. The right of all people to protect their person and possessions from both criminals and government overreach is absolute.
 
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Tough call. Anyone make a car that doesn't meet some sort of federal standard that can be driven as long as it's not leaving the state?

What about a lawnmower? Can you make a lawnmower that lacks basic safety equipment that is federally mandated as long as you make it for residents of your state only?

I'm actually not sure on this. This truly is more a Commerce Clause issue than anything. Hopefully the courts will be able to peel away their bias one-way-or-the-other regarding guns and treat this as a CC case only.

Farm use only right? Granted the car was still made to some specifications. But Id assume you could pass something off like this?

If they lose which would suck. This is good news for restricted states residents. To me it would say any restrictions not capacity related are unenforcable.
 
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The guys who made the guns/suppressors wouldn't be in jail if federal agents were prevented from arresting them. If Kansas is going to make a law that says any gun or accessory made/sold/kept in Kansas is out of Federal reach, then they need to activate the state's national guard to defend people from Federal authorities when they attempt to take them into custody.

That sets up civil war and that's not going to happen, so all the states contemplating similar laws would be better off banding together to make an amendment to the constitution.

28th Amendment:

No laws shall be made mandating registration, regulation, or taxation of firearms, ammunition, firearm or ammunition accessories, magazines or ammunition devices, firearm noise suppressing devices, or otherwise restricting the manufacture, sale, possession, or trade of said firearms and firearm related devices.

I mean, the 2nd Amendment said that in a lot fewer words, but apparently it has to be rebooted like every f***ing movie franchise these days.
This is short sighted. 2A is not specifically about guns. It's about arms. If you're going to rewrite or "clarify" 2A, I would suggest keeping protections applied to all arms.

No level of government may restrict or tax, the ownership, access to, or carrying of, any arms, whether offensive or defensive in nature. This includes, but is not limited to, all arms ever issued to military troops and police officers. The right of all people to protect their person and possessions from both criminals and government overreach is absolute.
Cease thine fapping about internal strife and read Heller and Caetano. Both cases confirmed that the 2A protects all offensive and defensive arms. You're not going to get total deregulation of NFA items until SCOTUS starts applying strict scrutiny to 2A cases, which they might with the NYC permitting case.
 

xtry51

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Cease thine fapping about internal strife and read Heller and Caetano. Both cases confirmed that the 2A protects all offensive and defensive arms. You're not going to get total deregulation of NFA items until SCOTUS starts applying strict scrutiny to 2A cases, which they might with the NYC permitting case.
Lol. I agree in principle, I just don't think they will ever actually take a case where any other landmark cases are overturned. The last two big cases were the last because they've painted themselves into a corner where either all laws back to '34 are void (strict scrutiny actually applied and enforced on states) or they reverse Heller and MacD settling for lower scrutiny.

I just don't see them having the balls to in one stroke completely void all federal and state gun laws. It's just not going to happen and the only way to keep the status is to not take cases at all.
 
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Dennis in MA

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How does this trickle-down to sanctuary cities/states??? Either the states can or cannot undo federal law. I'm not at all surprised the SCOTUS didn't hear this. Huge canna-wermz.
 

jpk

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Nullification as practiced by states in past revolves around ignoring federal law and refusing to prosecute it

Furthermore the state COULD pass a law that prosecutes any federal agent/employee that violates state law and imposes mandatory sentencing against fed agents that seek to violate state law.....

Fed law only supercedes state law where there is an explicit federal power enumerated in the constitution......

The constitution not only fails to grant the fed gov any authority over firearms (and a great many other things) it also explicity restrains the federal gov in 2A

Kansas could force the supreme court to take the case if they wanted to by escalating and taking steps to further nullify.....its not like there isnt precedence for it.....and recent precidence......look at MJ laws
 
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