The Wichita Eagle reports:
One day after Gov. Sam Brownback signed new gun legislation into law, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent him a letter saying the law criminalizes the enforcement of federal gun controls in the state, is unconstitutional and that he’s willing to go to court to fight for that claim.
“In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, (the law) directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional,” Holder wrote to Brownback in a letter dated April 26.
The law (Senate Bill 102) was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Legislature and signed last month by Brownback on April 25. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom released a copy of Holder’s letter on Thursday.
Grissom said in a statement that the law is “illegal, unenforceable, and also bad policy.”
Aides to Brownback and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt could not be reached immediately for comment.
Last week, Schmidt said new state laws passed this year could cost the state $1.2 million to defend in court. His office is anticipating $225,000 in potential legal costs defending the gun law that Holder is challenging.
In his letter, Holder also wrote, “Federal officers who are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations in order to maintain public safety cannot be forced to choose between the risk of criminal prosecution by a state and the continued performance of their federal duties.”
Holder cited the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution in saying Kansas may not prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their responsibilities.
He said federal agencies “will continue to execute their duties to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations.”
“Moreover, the United States will take all appropriate action, including litigation,” he added, “to prevent the State of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law.”
House lawmakers approved the Second Amendment Protection Act (SB 102) in a 96-24 vote, declaring Kansas-made guns immune from federal regulations inside the state. The Senate approved it 35-4.