Archive for Friday, May 17, 2013

Senate approves bill banning use of tax dollars to advocate for gun control

May 17, 2013


— The Kansas Senate on Friday approved a measure that prohibits the use of state tax dollars to advocate for gun control at the local, state or federal levels.

The bill was backed by the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity, which argued that taxes shouldn’t be used to promote regulations of legal products.

The lobbying arm of the NRA issued a statement that said, “The practice of using taxpayer dollars to fund gun control campaigns and lobby against your Second Amendment rights must be stopped.”

But several senators, who also support gun-owner rights, said House Bill 2162 was written too broadly and could infringe on the rights of free speech.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said there was no definition of “gun control” in the bill.

And, he said, the measure could prohibit agencies such as the Kansas Board of Regents, from providing testimony or advocacy when the Legislature considers gun legislation. This session, the Legislature approved allowing concealed-carry on campuses within the next four years.

“There are a lot of loopholes in this legislation,” Holland said. He said the bill would put off limits discussions on gun-related bills. “A bill like this starts taking things off the table for discussion. I don’t think that is healthy,” he said.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, said the bill was a violation of free speech and an example of the Legislature “playing Big Brother with local government.”

State Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, said the bill was limited to prohibiting state dollars from being used to lobby for gun control. It was approved 31-6 and needs only House approval before going to Gov. Sam Brownback for his consideration.


bearded_gnome 5 years ago

the author's prejudice sure is showing!

just count the quotes pro vs con!

wow Scott, not even subtle.

Frank A Janzen 5 years ago

Scott, good reporting on our lunatic legislature in Topeka.

Armstrong 5 years ago

Predictable piece, no surprises here.

Janis Pool 5 years ago

Okay, first question -What defines State money? Second-What defines gun control?

Will it be said again that State employees cannot contribute to organizations like the Gifford's or the NRA, since both promote regulations, albeit different regulations?

Will this disallow a public school teacher to teach both the gun as a tool and the gun as a weapon, say in ROTC or at a charter school such as a military academy? Or is the teaching the use of gun "promoting gun regulations"?

If a rogue student on KU campus or at the IRS is wielding a gun, may a State employee use the State owned phone on his desk to call the State funded security to seek help? Or is that a form of gun control not allowed?

My opinion on guns and gun safety is still forming. I think educated gun use as a tool of hunting or defense is justified sufficiently under our Constitution as written. Safety of individuals is overlapping but with thought can be addressed positively for all of us.

But I do not understand these severely one way decisions our Kansas government is making, and how those decisions are to represent all people and govern all people, which I was taught was the purpose of the government.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Read the bill and your questions will be answered.

jafs 5 years ago

Apparently not, if Holland is right, and the bill doesn't define "gun control".

Brock Masters 5 years ago

The bill doesn't define gun control but if you read the bill it really isn't necessary to define it.

jafs 5 years ago

If it prohibits use of state money to advocate for gun control, then it seems necessary to define your terms to me.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Not really. Gun control is pretty straight forward. Point out a grey area.

And since it only applies to money appropriated by the legislature its scope is pretty narrow.

But I am open to challenge - provide a situation where not having it defined would create a problem.

jafs 5 years ago

The term "gun control" is used to refer to a very broad set of differing ideas, including banning certain weapons, ammunition, etc. as well as expanded or universal background checks, getting more information into databases,...

As such, it would be a good idea to define it, unless one wants it to be the broadest possible definition.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Again, where is the problem? Without it being defined you were able to articulate what it is. Show me a situation where it would be necessary to further define gun control beyond its common usage and meaning. What would be a gray area?

jafs 5 years ago

Well, I don't consider many of those things actually to be "gun control", but it's used that way by many.

So, it's a subjective term, and different people understand it differently.

Do you think that making sure folks who should be in databases are is "gun control"? And, isn't that significantly different from banning weapons?

It's obviously possible for somebody to be opposed to banning weapons but in favor of expanded background checks or better databases.

Liberty275 5 years ago

"Do you think that making sure folks who should be in databases are is "gun control"?"

If the database is used for determining whether a gun may be purchased, the database is part of gun control.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

So, wouldn't that make the keeping of databases of persons convicted of DUIs to be used for determining whether they can legally operate an automobile "car control", limiting my natural right to freedom of movement?

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Somebody using their own money can lobby for or against gun control - individuals don't receive appropriations from the legislature So this law only applies to public agencies using money appropriated from the legislature.

Holland threw the gun control out as a red herring. It isn't an issue. Read the bill and then tell me if it is.

parrothead8 5 years ago

Why should we read the bill? Most of the people who voted on it don't read it. Instead, we should elect better representatives.

oldvet 5 years ago

But they had to pass it so that they could see what was in it... That worked before...

footnote2 5 years ago

How about a bill which prohibits the use of tax dollars to advocate in schools against the use of tobacco? Or a bill to prohibit tax dollars used to promote awareness of the dangers of obesity? Tobacco and food are legal products and therefore should pass muster before the Kansas Senate.

George_Braziller 5 years ago

Don't forget about alcohol. Alcohol Beverage Control is part of the Kansas Department of Revenue so it's nothing but tax dollars being used to promote regulation of a legal product.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

George can you give me an example? I see responsible drinking ads and not drinking and driving ads but no publicly funded ads against alcohol.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Aren't all those ads about how you have to be 21 to buy alcohol promoting alcohol control?

What about those ads promoting not drinking and driving?

Alcohol. Control.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Nope not the. They are PSAs about current law.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Right, but current law allows local governments to place restrictions on gun use in their jurisdiction, and this would prevent representatives of local governments to lobby against efforts to change those laws. (Local governments in the United States had an almost unchallenged ability to restrict firearms until 2008's Heller decision. In recent Kansas history, it has become more limited, but local communities still have some leeway to reflect local values in their policies.)

It's very strange that you seem to think the right to bear firearms, which has only been recognized for a couple hundred years, to supercede the right of local representatives to freely voice their interests before the central government--a speech that would seem to be more fundamental.

Perhaps local governments should be fully funded by local taxes. But that would require a major overhaul of government in the state.

In the meantime, it's probably best to simply let local governments freely voice their interests before the state government without declaring any topics "taboo".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Yep-- but that "freedom" goes to the highest bidders. And if you can't be part of the auction, you'll have to live with the results of a corprofascist state that couldn't care less about you.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Bozo, I want the corporofascist state to utterly ignore my existence. That's called "freedom". I'm glad they couldn't care less about me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

The corporfascist state will be happy to ignore your miserable existence-- just don't expect that there'll be anything you can do to improve that existence.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Many times police offer testimony in favor of gun control. Of course, they are the experts, and they don't need no stinkin' experts. Legislators know more about education too.

Liberty275 5 years ago

"Many times police offer testimony in favor of gun control."

Shouldn't they do that on their own time anyway? We pay cops to peek in car doors for seat belt violations, not to advocate political positions.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Yeah. Say, "We pay cops to peek in car doors for seat belt violations" to the families of all of the police officers who die every year from gun violence when they are working to defend the public.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

What tax dollars,are currently being used? I would agree it it were happening that it would be inappropriate.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Why shouldn't our legislators get to hear from the representatives of cities, counties, and school districts when legislating on any of these issues?

The dividing line of "legal" is absurd. Our legislators and schools and cities and counties deal with defining what is "legal" and what is "illegal" on a daily basis.

But now the legislature is saying that representatives from local governments, school districts, and universities can't testify on behalf of whether something should be legal or illegal?

kernal 5 years ago

Any bill backed by the NRA and the so called Americans for Prosperity (who do they think they're kidding?) isn't good for the general public. Maybe the bill needed to be tweaked, but I doubt anything but total lack of gun control would have passed that bunch.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

So you agree that state money can't be used to lobby for any position? Or just those positions you oppose? Why wasn't the bill written to include all issues and all sides of an issue? Why was it just about one side of one issue?

verity 5 years ago

The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.

Wake me up when it's over.

question4u 5 years ago

We've seen corporate interests push numerous bills to restrict freedom of speech this legislative session, so this is no surprise. This legislature is all about crushing American values. That should be obvious regardless of what position you take on gun control. Using power to shut down opposition is dictatorial, not democratic, no matter what your political views are.

We've seen an attempt to make it illegal to use state funds to advocate for sustainability. We've seen a bill forcing doctors to tell patients about dubious studies, whether they believe that they are credible or not. We've seen a bill introduced to make it illegal to use state funds to teach the Common Core curriculum. We've seen legislation to silence unions.

Kansas right-wing extremists don't want freedom of speech, except, of course, on one particular issue. Republican Steve Roberts believes that he is a hero for using the "n-word." So, don't despair, Kansas isn't going to shut down free speech. If you're a public official, you might not be able to advocate for gun control but you can wear the heck out of racist words.

John Hamm 5 years ago

Only Liberals would be mad that Government money can't be used to restrict their rights. OMG. SMH.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Liberals are begging to have their 2nd amendment rights taken away. What do you expect?

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Yet conservatives are begging to take first amendment rights away from liberals. I expect a lot of law suits in the future that my tax dollars will have to go towards defending these stupid laws, instead of addressing real needs.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Which among you conservatives advocates the forfeit of first amendment rights? Fess up right wingers.

voevoda 5 years ago

According to Justice Antonin Scalia, who authored the majority opinion in the Heller decision (the one that serves as the basis for claims that the right to bear arms rests in individuals rather than in well-regulated militias):

"Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."

In other words, the Supreme Court has already ruled that gun control is in keeping with the Second Amendment. Will publicly-funded groups be forbidden to quote Justice Scalia?

voevoda 5 years ago

Clearly, SFFMassSt., you are unacquainted with this Supreme Court decision. This was the Heller case--the first one that ruled that the right to bear arms rests in individuals, not in well-regulated militias. This is the decision that overturned the District of Columbia restriction on individual ownership of handguns, and that has subsequently served as the basis for legal arguments against other forms of gun control. So if you think Justice Scalia is wrong, then you are negating the value of the sole Supreme Court decision that even comes near to supporting your idea about the right to bear arms.

Unless, of course, you think that the very existence of the Supreme Court is illegitimate, which means that you object to the Constitution as a whole. Along with the Second Amendment. So be careful about what you declare to be illegitimate, SFFMassSt., or you may just argue yourself out of all your rights.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

They only ruled that like all rights it can be regulated not that it must be regulated or that legislatures can't put conditions on how money they appropriate can be used.

Read the bill and your question at the end will be answered

In_God_we_trust 5 years ago

Actually the Bill of Rights and the Preamble to the Bill of Rights says that the listed Rights are areas that the government is not supposed to make any law (unless they engage in the amendment change process). What Judge Scalia was doing was trying to start regulation on Rights with regular legislation. Judge Scalia did not base his decision on the Constitution when he tried to open the door to the government to "limit your Rights". Making laws on the Bill of Rights is not allowed at the federal level period.

voevoda 5 years ago

The Supreme Court disagrees with your interpretation of the Preamble to the Bill of Rights, In_God. I'm inclined to believe 200+ years of Supreme Court decisions got it right, rather than you.

jafs 5 years ago

That's really not true at all.

Some of the rights in the bill of rights prohibit government from making certain kinds of laws, but there are many kinds of rights that don't include that provision.

And, there are many laws made regarding things that involve those rights. For example, we have the right to be free from "unreasonable search and seizure", but that is a term open to interpretation and disagreement. So, states pass a variety of laws about different searches, warrantless and otherwise, and then it's up to the courts to determine if they violate our 4th amendment rights.

One may agree or not with those decisions, but to claim that government can't make any laws regarding any of the rights in the bill of rights is silly.

In_God_we_trust 5 years ago

"For example, we have the right to be free from "unreasonable search and seizure", but that is a term open to interpretation and disagreement."

The Bill of Rights are Rights of the people, not limitations. Therefore, the Bill of Rights are not open to interpretation and disagreement. They can only be open to change by the amendment change process. To suggest that Rights can be regulated by government is silly.

jafs 5 years ago

Completely wrong.

Given the vague wording of a number of things in the bill of rights, interpretation and application is necessary. "Unreasonable" is not an objective term, but a subjective one.

Larry Sturm 5 years ago

Bill should be null and void they used tax dollars to pass it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Could someone please provide an example of the sort of advocacy that this is intended to prevent? Preferably something that's actually happened.

Kirk Larson 5 years ago

" which argued that taxes shouldn’t be used to promote regulations of legal products."

But it's OK to to create hurdles to access to a legal medical procedure like abortion.

Fatty_McButterpants 5 years ago

So, will they pass a bill that prohibits tax dollars from being used to argue for restrictions on abortion? That's a legal, constitutionally protected right.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.