Someone has said that “Gun control is not about guns, but about control.”


Someone has said that “Gun control is not about guns, but about control.”

Last spring, I wrote about Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1, a proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution to clarify the language used therein to guarantee our individual right to keep and bear arms. After the column, I received a couple emails basically telling me that our right to keep and bear arms is already guaranteed us in our state constitution and could never be taken away (which is debatable), and that even if we lost that right at the state level, the U.S. Constitution guarantees it also and that we would never lose that right federally (which I also find debatable in today’s world).

I sincerely hope that both those assessments are correct, but at this juncture of my life and given the direction our country and world have taken of late, I’m not as willing to take those rights for granted as I used to be. I promised to refresh your memory about this proposed amendment before the election, so here is your reminder with a little more background thrown in.

In the Kansas Constitution, the paragraph pertaining to our right to keep and bear arms begins with these words; “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security ...” The proposed amendment changes that wording to read “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose ...”

An article in the October 4 Hutchinson News states that this gun issue can be traced back to a 1905 Kansas Supreme Court ruling in the case of the City of Salina vs. Blakesly, in which the high court ruled that “the peoples right” to bear arms was a collective right, meaning only standing militias were entitled to bear arms, and then only in defense of the state. Evidently the ruling was never enforced, and I commend the authors of this proposed amendment for being proactive in taking steps to see that it never is. The purpose of this amendment is clearly to clarify and personalize the language so that the right of each individual Kansan to bear arms can never be questioned.

This year, at my wife’s request, I did something I’ve never done before; I got us early mail-in ballots so we can have the names and issues before us while we research the various candidates and issues. Because of that, I can give you the exact wording of Constitutional Amendment Question No. 1 as it will appear on your ballot:

Explanatory Statement. The purpose of this amendment is to preserve constitutionally the right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for all other lawful purposes, including hunting and recreation.

A vote FOR this amendment would constitutionally preserve the right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose.

A vote AGAINST this amendment would provide for no constitutional right of a person to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use and for any other lawful purpose.

There you have it in a nut shell, and I urge you to go to the polls and vote on Tuesday. And if you value your personal freedom to possess firearms for hunting, recreation and protection of your family, please vote yes on Constitutional Amendment Question No. 1. I look at it this way; no matter how firmly you feel the right to bear arms is personally guaranteed to you already, what do you have to lose by voting yes on this anyway? ... I’ll let you decide that!

Steve Gilliland is a syndicated outdoors columnist, and can be contacted by e-mail at stevegilliland@idkcom.net.