Eric Holder to Kansas governor: New state gun law unconstitutional

by David Sherfinski-The Washington Times  |  published on May 2, 2013

Sam Brownback
A new law in Kansas that criminalizes the enforcement of federal gun controls in the state is unconstitutional, Attorney General Eric H. Holder said.

“In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, [the law] directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional,” Mr. Holder wrote to Gov. Sam Brownback in a letter dated April 26. “Federal officers who are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations in order to maintain public safety cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution by a state and the continued performance of their federal duties.”

Mr. Holder cites the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says federal law trumps conflicting state authority or exercise of power. Kansas’s law became effective April 25.

Mr. Holder wrote that federal authorities “will continue to execute their duties to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations. Moreover, the United States will take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary, to prevent the State of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law.”

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