US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] has warned Kansas that a recently enacted law intended to block enforcement of federal gun regulations is unconstitutional, according to a letter [text, PDF] released Thursday. According to Holder, SB 102 [materials], also known as the "Second Amendment Protection Act," "directly conflicts with federal law, and is therefore unconstitutional." The law prohibits federal officials from enforcing federal regulations with respect to firearms in Kansas. Holder's letter was sent April 26, one day after the law entered into force. In a response dated May 2, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] said, "[t]he people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will. It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so."
Gun control has been the center of national attention since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting [WSJ backgrounder] in December. In March a Kansas legislative committee approved a bill that would allow the open carry [JURIST report] and transport of firearms around the state. In April the Maryland Senate gave final approval to a bill that imposes tougher restrictions [JURIST report] on obtaining a license to buy a firearm and bans certain types of rifles. Also last month Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed [JURIST report] a comprehensive gun control bill into law, placing new limits on the sale of firearms. In March Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed [JURIST report] three bills mandating background checks for gun transfers and prohibiting the sale of large magazines. In January President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures.