Topeka 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.