Earlier this month I had Kansas Rep. Rebecca Schmoe on Bearing Arms Cam & Co to talk about her proposed amendment to the Kansas constitution that would add additional language and further protections to the right to keep and bear arms than what’s currently in place. If the language of H.C.R. 5020 is adopted by the legislature and voters this November, the possession and use of ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components within the protections of Article 1, Section 4 of the state constitution (“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.”), while explicitly stating that “strict scrutiny” will be used to address the constitutionality of any gun control law that’s challenged in court.
That’s too much for Hayley Spellman, an educator in the Jayhawk State who calls Schmoe’s amendment a threat to school safety.
H.C.R. 5020 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would recognize the right to bear arms as a fundamental right in the Kansas Constitution. It includes the possession and use of ammunition, firearm accessories and firearm components. Just like our free speech protections under the First Amendment, if this amendment were to pass, gun rights in Kansas would also be held to the highest level of protection.
I strongly encourage my fellow Kansans to reach out to their representatives and demand we keep guns out of our schools and our communities. H.C.R. 5020 poses a threat to basic school safety, and it’s time that our elected officials listen to their constituents and understand the seriousness of this threat.
Why shouldn’t the right to keep and bear arms be treated with as much fundamental importance as the First Amendment’s protections or any other guarantees of individual liberty found within the U.S. and Kansas constitutions? Spellman seems to believe that if you treat the Second Amendment as a second-class right (or no right at all), then no one will be able to use a gun in the commission of a violent crime, which is downright silly.
In her op-ed, she writes about the 2022 shooting at Olathe East High School where a student is accused of shooting the school principal and a school resource officer, but she never bothers to mention that the now 19-year-old suspect is facing charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as well as attempted capital murder. It was illegal for the teen to possess the gun in the first place, much less at school, and it was certainly no lawful exercise of his Second Amendment rights to shoot two school officials, as prosecutors allege.
And it’s not like gun-controlled states are free from these types of incidents. We’ve seen similar stories unfold, albeit without shots fired, in Boston, Massachusetts and Armona, California (to name just a few) in just the past couple of weeks weeks, where teens have been caught with loaded firearms on school grounds. I think it’s fair to say that neither Massachusetts or California treat the Second Amendment as protecting the fundamental right that it does, but that disrespect doesn’t mean that bad actors aren’t still able to illegally acquire and use firearms for their own nefarious purposes.
I don’t know what subject Spellman teaches there in Kansas, but I hope for the sake of her students that it has nothing to do with civics or government. Her warped perspective on the right to keep and bear arms is directly contradicted by the existing language in the state constitution and the Bill of Rights, much less the additional protections that Rebecca Schmoe and dozens of other lawmakers want to put before voters this fall.