[JURIST] The Kansas state legislature [official website] approved a bill [HB 2578] on Saturday that would establish statewide firearm possession regulations and nullify city and county variances on gun permitting restrictions. The bill would also restrict local governments from imposing rules on how guns must be stored and transported, and local municipalities could no longer use tax dollars for gun buyback programs. The bill was introduced in February 2014 and referred to the state Committee on Federal and State Affairs [official website]. The Kansas Senate approved the measure by a vote of 37-2 on Friday and the House voted to approve the legislation by a vote of 102-19 on Saturday. The bill will now be sent to Governor Sam Brownback [official website] for final approval. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Institute for Legislative Action have tracked the legislation over the past two months and their organizations express strong support [press release] for the measure that will "eliminate the complex patchwork of gun laws that arise from local regulations." Supporters of the bill hope firearm preemption regulations [AP report] will become the model for gun rights across the US, but opponents argue local governments have more exact knowledge on gun ownership regulations in their communities.
The debate over gun ownership rights is one of the most challenged political issues in a number of major US states. Last year, Kansas enacted [NYT report] a law to allow people with concealed firearms to bring their weapons into public buildings. In March 2014, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed [JURIST report] HB 1048 [legislative materials] into law, allowing adults to carry a concealed weapon locked in vehicles on school property. In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed [JURIST report] 11 out of 17 gun control bills that reached his office. Also in October, a federal judge rejected [JURIST report] constitutional challenges against a new Maryland firearm law that limits certain assault weapons, and requires safety training and fingerprinting for potential buyers. Last August, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] a gun safety bill that requires background checks for all gun purchases in the state as well as the reporting of all lost and stolen guns.