And not just any legislator. State Rep. Rebecca Schmoe is a longtime Second Amendment advocate who worked tirelessly with groups like 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control and the D.C. Project before deciding to run for the Kansas State House in 2022. As we’ve previously discussed, Schmoe’s candidacy wasn’t the fulfillment of some lifelong dream of being an elected politician, but more of a necessity predicated on the lack of a strong pro-2A candidate in her district.
On today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co, Schmoe told me that while she’s still undecided about whether she’ll be running for a second term this year, she has big plans for this session: a proposed amendment to the Kansas state constitution that would put strengthen the existing language protecting the right to keep and bear arms found in Article 1, Section 4 that reads “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; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”
That language was approved by voters in 2010, but Schmoe says in the ensuing years it’s become clear that some additional guarantees are needed. The amendment she’s proposing would also specifically include the possession and use of ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components within the protections of Article 1, Section 4, while explicitly stating that “strict scrutiny” will be used to address the constitutionality of any gun control law that’s challenged in court.
Schmoe pointed to legislation recently filed in Washington State subjecting gun owners to tax increases for the “privilege” of using ammunition as one example of the need for an amendment in Kansas.
“I was really happy that we actually worked the word ‘ammunition’ into this constitutional amendment, and then almost immediately that rolled out. I was like, are you kidding? Well, that sets us up perfectly to explain why this is a problem,” Schmoe said.
Besides attacks on ammunition, we’ve also seen federal judges around the country declare that ammunition magazines are “accessories” unprotected by the Second Amendment, so this language would help to prevent similar abuses in the Jayhawk State from ever taking place.
While the proposed amendment doesn’t yet have an official bill number, Schmoe says it’s already garnering a lot of support in Topeka. More than 50 House members have already signed on as co-sponsors, though she notes that it will take a two-thirds vote in both chambers to place the amendment on the ballot this November. That amounts to 84 votes in the House and 27 in the Senate; a daunting task that should be doable given the GOP’s 85-40 advantage over Democrats in the House and the 28 Senate seats currently controlled by Republicans. Schmoe is hoping that the proposed amendment can garner bipartisan support, however. As she pointed out, this is a great chance for anti-gunners to test their hypothesis that the vast majority of Americans are fundamentally in agreement with their self-proclaimed reasonable restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms; after all, if they truly believe that’s the case then they should have nothing to fear by giving voters the chance to amend their state constitution.
I don’t think anti-gun politicians in the state are going to take Schmoe up on her challenge, even though they should. Even if Democrats are uniformly opposed to the proposed amendment, however, the numbers should be there to put the issue on the ballot this fall… especially if gun owners in the state get behind the effort and encourage their own representatives and senators to sign on as sponsors.
The first public hearing for the proposed amendment is coming up in the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs next week, and Schmoe is urging gun owners to show up in Topeka to lend their support. We’ll be checking back with Rep. Schmoe after that first hearing takes place, but be sure to check out today’s conversation in the video window below.