Appeals Court Rules Fed Trumps State Law in Kansas Gun Convictions

Kansas AG Derek Schmidt defended the state law writing that “the intent of the Second Amendment Protection Act is to reaffirm the constitutional limits on Congress’s authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition under the Constitution and thereby protect the rights reserved to Kansas and its citizens under the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments.” (Photo: Schmidt)

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Kansas law does not nullify federal law in a case where two men made and bought unregistered suppressors. Suppressors, or silencers, are regulated under the National Firearms Act – the NFA.

In 2013 legislators in Kansas passed a bill called the Second Amendment Protection Act, the SAPA. It reads, “Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.”

The law also prevents enforcing or attempting to enforce “any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States regarding any personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the border.”

Acting in faith of the Kansas law, Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler, engaged in the business of selling homemade firearms and suppressors. Both were indicted in 2015 on separate counts.

“The law pretty clearly states that these products are legal to own, as long as they are made in Kansas and sold to Kansas residents and don’t leave the state,” said Kettler.

Kettler was frustrated by the lack of support from politicians and law enforcement. “It was absolutely legal, up until we were charged,” he said. “And then, no politician or anybody would talk to me.”

Kettler was the only buyer arrested and charged for purchasing an unregistered suppressor, although Cox sold many to others.

SEE ALSO: Florida Sheriff Creates 5-Man Confiscation Squad to Handle Numerous ‘Red Flag’ Protection Orders

The initial court rejected Cox’s and Kettler’s defense, that the state law protected them from any prosecution and that the federal law was not unconstitutional.

Cox was found guilty of selling firearms and NFA-regulated items without a license and Kettler was convicted for possessing an unregistered silencer.

The pair appealed, arguing that the National Firearms Act is unconstitutional and that SAPA shields them from federal regulation. Additionally, Kettler argued that he had been unfairly targeted and “ensnared in a constitutional dispute” between the state and federal government.

The court denied all three appeals while leaving the Second Amendment Protection Act unchallenged. However, understanding that Cox and Kettler were relying on state law to protect them, the two have only been sentenced to probation.

“The defendants here argued that their good-faith reliance on a valid state statute should be a defense to their actions,” said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt before the appeal. “That position is reasonable, and it is consistent with the State’s interest in ensuring the Second Amendment Protection Act itself is defended.”

The court ruled that the federal government has the right to regulate firearms and accessories under the congressional power to tax.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Brian hillis May 29, 2021, 5:56 pm

    The judges should be spanked. Those are fees not taxes. Big difference and very recognized in court. As fees they don’t have a strong argument that they are valid.

  • Michael Wayne Chamlee October 19, 2018, 8:20 pm

    The constitution is the supreme law of the people. It in its self trumps both State and Federal laws or at least it was supposed to.

    • AJ October 20, 2018, 5:01 pm

      Exactly. The 10th Amendment states that any rights not mentioned within the first 9 are the responsibility of the states to guarantee. And that was written and ratified long before the NFA. Therefore, Kansas law trump’s the NFA, plain and simple. No matter how it is interpreted, literally anything “governed” by the NFA is null and void unless a state adopts it as official state legislation. It can not be universal.
      I’m not at all a lawyer but dated text does not lie.

      On top of that any judge that is will to sit on the bench in these cases is technically violating federal law pertaining to partisanship. They are showing a bias against the 2nd Amendment due to an act that isn’t even a real thing.

      Then again, the Legislature and judicial system will do as they please, just look at federal income tax.

  • D.J. October 19, 2018, 1:17 pm

    There is a point to be made in this story . Those states that have made marijuana
    legal are in violation of federal law .
    Despite being valid, or not , federal law overrides state law .
    This concept was established at the conclusion of that damned war in 1865 .
    Like it , or not , that’s the way things “shook out ” .
    Does it go against the spirit of our constitution?
    In my opinion , YES !
    Is that the way it is ?
    Again , affirmative!
    Do I personally agree with it ?
    Hell no !
    That’s the “Foxtrotting ” way it is . Period , paragraph.
    We all have to get with the program , or change it !
    B-I-Tiching about it , does no good .

  • Leighton Cavendish October 19, 2018, 12:58 pm

    Fed law says shall not be infringed…hmmm

  • Vaughn Winslett October 19, 2018, 9:22 am

    Water the Tree Of Liberty.

    • Dewey October 19, 2018, 11:20 am

      Lead the way keyboard commando!

      • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:09 pm

        I see a Facebook action badge in this guys future.

  • AJ October 19, 2018, 7:57 am

    10th and 14th amendments…. The NFA is unconstitutional

  • Infidel762X51 October 19, 2018, 7:53 am

    I think they used the wrong argument. The NFA has only been upheld because of the Interstate Commerce Clause. They should have argued that since the items in question never moved in interstate commerce the NFA can’t be applied to these items, unless and until they are moved out of Kansas.

  • Kb31416 October 19, 2018, 7:34 am

    I’m always amused by cases like this where the liberals rejoice at acknowledging the supremacy of federal law over state law, but somehow seem to forget when it comes to marijuana. I guess that laws that liberals don’t like are just optional, right?

    • perlcat October 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

      This is modern Democrat Science. It explains a lot of things, like two X chromosomes doesn’t necessarily make you a female, 1/1024th of a Cleveland Indian in your ancestry makes you a minority, smoke from a us factory causes global warming, but if its Chinese or Al Gore’s smoke, it’s ok, an unseasonably cold month isn’t climate change, but a 2 day hot spell is. If the president shoves a cigar up an intern’s hoohoo it’s ok, but if you pulled a girl’s pigtail in 3rd grade, you’re a predator. Is there anything Democrat Science can’t do?

      • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:04 pm

        Dude I just spit out my drink with that last one.

      • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:05 pm

        Also… Democrat science can’t OPSEC

  • Kevin October 19, 2018, 5:53 am

    If you are 1 of their misidentified/miscatorgized 14th amendment to the ” Federal US Constitution in the Tertitorial or Municipal Jurisdictions ” , then and only then is tneir presumption correct. Which are they ? Are they actual Americans or are they ” US CITIZENS/United Stated citizens… or whatever decietful unlawful act of conversion and inland piracy makes them that .
    They operated in a Lawful capacity in regards to the trade, not commerce, commerce is strictly commercial/between states in international admirality jurisdiction.. its astounding how ignorant even so called ” Lawyers are….or are they ?.. BAR MAGGOTS, Foriegn for profit allied with the Crown Brittish mercenaries here to rape rob and pillage… and the court system is not even ours…its foriegn owned and controlled.

    You now know the problem, get off your rumps and change it .

    • dirtsailor67 October 19, 2018, 10:31 am

      Please refrain from posting while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

      • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:07 pm

        What? A Seabee condemning alcohol? No way..

        Just kidding. This made me laugh because my mind read that like it was an airport service announcement.

  • Nick M October 19, 2018, 5:29 am

    At least we have a chance on the court now.

  • Rangemaster11B October 19, 2018, 3:42 am

    Once there is a solid majority of originalists on the Supreme Court, some of this nonsense will be resolved.

  • Mark Nuthall October 19, 2018, 12:30 am

    Where’s the NRA? Missing in action again!

    • Dr Motown October 19, 2018, 9:20 am

      The argument was based on the constitutionality of the NFA….that won’t be settled in Circuit Court, only @ SCOTUS level, so the NRA should expend its funds when such a case finally reaches a sympathetic SCOTUS

  • tsh77769 October 19, 2018, 12:19 am

    It is a violation of the Constitution to tax a Constitutionally protected right. Is a free speech tax ok? A voting tax, that’s ok? A tax if you belong to a church, a tax if you don’t? BULLSHT!!

  • Mike V October 18, 2018, 8:19 pm

    “The court ruled that the federal government has the right to regulate firearms and accessories under the congressional power to tax.”

    But of course.

    Of what value is the bill of rights?
    Why even have a constitution?

    • mtman2 October 19, 2018, 5:03 am

      Learn how “WE the People” must relearn 1st who WE are supposed to be- then move forward with Constitutional candidates only.
      This only works by winning primaries with such people.

    • Infidel762X51 October 19, 2018, 7:55 am

      No the power of regulation comes from the Interstate Commerce Clause, but these items never moved in interstate commerce.

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