Kentucky bill barring help on federal gun laws advances

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

The state of Kentucky is kind of the epitome of a red state. They have Republicans holding office up and down the line. Looking at a map of their legislature’s makeup looks like someone was murdered, there’s just so much red everywhere.

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So it’s unsurprising that they will pass pro-gun legislation, even if it looks an awful lot like a measure just smacked down by the courts.

You see, such a bill has advanced in the Kentucky legislature.

A bill that would ban state and local law enforcement, governments and their employees from enforcing federal gun laws or regulations in Kentucky advanced from a Senate committee Thursday morning.

House Bill 153, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bray, R-Mount Vernon, would prevent local law enforcement, employees of public agencies and local governments from assisting or cooperating with a “federal ban” on firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition. The bill’s language would also prevent local governments and public agencies from adopting rules or spending public funding or resources to enforce such a federal ban on firearms.

The Republican reiterated his support for the bill, speaking before the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.

“The concept behind it is pretty simple: it says going forward, no state tax dollars, state manpower will be allocated towards the enforcement of a federal firearm ban,” Bray said.

The legislation passed out of the House on mostly party lines last month. A similar bill sponsored by Bray last year also had passed the House but failed to receive a vote by the full Senate before the end of the legislative session.

Anderson County writer Teri Carter testified against the bill, pointing to how a federal judge this week struck down a similar law in Missouri as unconstitutional and void because of the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution. That clause establishes that federal law generally takes precedence over state law.

Carter referenced reporting by the Kansas City Star that following the Missouri legislation being signed into law in 2021, some police departments there restricted cooperation with federal authorities on collaborations such as sending gun serial number information to federal databases or joint drug task forces.

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Carter isn’t wrong here. The law looks an awful lot like the Missouri law and yes, it was struck down.

However, I’m not so sure that the ruling in question won’t be overturned.

You see, the supremacy clause means that federal law takes priority over state law, but it doesn’t mean that federal authorities can create an unfunded mandate that local police must assist them in doing their jobs.

Further, let’s be real for a second here, there were no such rulings about immigration sanctuaries. Those cities and states refused to assist federal authorities with the enforcement of immigration laws and yet that was deemed acceptable.

Actually, some thought it downright heroic.

So now Kentucky is interested in going down that same path. Whether they can be successful whereas Missouri currently isn’t remains to be seen. What we do know, though, is that Kentucky isn’t going to play around and pass new gun control laws, and that’s a very good thing.

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