Kansans soon may have an enumerated constitutional right to keep personal firearms. A proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot would guarantee the right to bear arms as an individual freedom in the state of Kansas. For practical purposes, though, the proposed constitutional amendment will do nothing to change the status quo.


Kansans soon may have an enumerated constitutional right to keep personal firearms. A proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot would guarantee the right to bear arms as an individual freedom in the state of Kansas. For practical purposes, though, the proposed constitutional amendment will do nothing to change the status quo.
“I don’t see that it’s going to affect any of the current gun laws,” said Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association, the organization behind the amendment.
The amendment, she said, is needed to reverse a 1905 ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court.
The 1905 decision, City of Salina v. Blakesly, declared the right to keep and possess arms as a collective freedom, not an individual right.
“The supreme court was basically legislating instead of staying with their judicial responsibilities,” Stoneking said. “Fortunately, our legislature has seen fit to ignore that 1905 decision.”
If approved by voters, the constitutional amendment will overturn the supreme court decision, keeping the precedent from being used in the future to restrict gun rights in the state.
There are no current challenges to the state constitution’s fourth amendment, which enumerates a right to bear arms.
“We felt that it was best for Kansas, should our political complexion change in the future,” Stoneking said.
Opposition to the amendment has come from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an research and lobbying organization promoting gun control, which rates Kansas’s gun-control efforts a seven out of a possible 100 points.
“The U.S. Supreme Court, in two different decisions over the last two years, has determined that the Second Amendment is applicable to the states. This is completely ridiculous and unnecessary,” Paul Helmke, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign, told Fox News in September.
But little opposition has been raised within the state.
“I have no doubt that it’s going to pass, and I think overwhelmingly,” Stoneking said.
The amendment was approved last year by the state Senate by a vote of 39-to-one, then by the House with 116 approving, and only 9 “no” votes.
Passage in the legislature with more than a two-thirds majority allowed the proposed amendment, Constitutional Amendment Question 1, to be placed on the ballot.