By John Celock
In an effort to revert back to a state law that existed until last summer, Kansas lawmakers are in the process of considering legislation that would prevent local governments from regulating firearms dealers in the state.
The legislation would correct what is described as a change that occurred in state law in July 2014, which canceled out a previous state law that prevented local regulation of firearms dealers. The change came as Kansas implemented a new state law that prevented local governments from implementing local gun laws. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee held a hearing on the legislation Wednesday.
State Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold, who spoke to the committee as a registered firearms dealer, told The Celock Report that the legislation is needed because most of the firearms dealers who are being impacted are private individuals engaging in private sales and are not storefronts. He said unless a state level change is made, regulations around the state could vary from city to city.
“I don’t want to be vulnerable to several thousand interpretations,” Arnold said. “There is a need to a statewide uniformity.”
Arnold said the law was first put in place in 2008 after local governments attempted to try to place zoning regulations on the dealers. He described the bill as “common sense” noting that it would only return the state to what was the law prior to July 2014.
Patricia Stoneking, the president of the Kansas State Firearms Association, told the committee in prepared testimony that the bill would allow for the state to continue the practice of being “overregulated” by local governments, noting that was the plan in last year’s bill.
Stoneking in her testimony, along with Arnold, stressed that firearms dealers are already regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Arnold said that there are roughly 1,400 federally licensed firearms dealers in Kansas.
“FFL’s are stringently regulated by the ATF and should not be further restricted by local jurisdictions,” Stoneking wrote in her testimony. “The meat of last year’s bill was all about preempting local control and the provision written regarding FFL’s was clearly intended to give them the same protection.”
Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee), a committee member, told The Celock Report that he supports the bill.
“I believe Kansans’ Second Amendment rights should be protected equally throughout the state,” he said. “That includes protecting dealers from additional taxes meant to specifically punish their industry.
Arnold stressed that many of the firearms dealers are selling from their homes because it is not a job.
“A lot of people it is not a business. This is not how they are not making their living,” he said. ‘They are hobbyists or collectors.”