As we previously detailed, dozens of states are considering bills that attempt to nullify federal gun laws. One such bill became a law last month in Kansas. It exempts "Made in Kansas" guns from federal regulation and makes it a crime for federal agents to enforce federal law.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently wrote to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, saying the law is "unconstitutional," and that the U.S. is prepared to sue Kansas to prevent the state from "interfering with the activities of federal officials."
Now, Brownback has fired back.
In a letter to Holder yesterday, Brownback wrote: "The people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will. It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so."
Local news reports have highlighted an estimate from Kansas' attorney general that defending the new law in court could cost the state $225,000 over the next three years. Attorney General Derek Schmidt did not immediately return a request for comment.
Kansas' Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped draft the new law, also released a response to Holder's letter. "As a former professor of constitutional law, I ensured that it was drafted to withstand any legal challenge," he wrote.
"The Obama Administration has repeatedly violated the United States Constitution for the past four-and-a-half-years. That abuse cannot continue."
Kobach and Brownback's offices have yet to respond for requests for further comment.
Similar bills nullifying federal gun laws are continuing to advance in at least three other states: Louisiana, Missouri, and Alabama. In Alaska, a bill exempting any gun possessed in Alaska from federal law has been approved by the state legislature and is awaiting action from Gov. Sean Parnell. Bills attacking federal gun laws have been introduced in at least 37 states this year.
Many of the bills have caveats. In Kansas, for example, the law specifies that state will not actually arrest federal agents who try to enforce gun regulations.
Bills in other states, including Montana, Wyoming, and Tennessee have attempted to go further. The approved version of Alaska's bill removed a measure that would have allowed state law enforcement to arrest federal agents for trying to enforce gun laws.