Two men face federal prison for following state law
In 2013 Governor Brownback signed off on House Bill 2199 known as the Second Amendment Protection Act
Shane Cox was a gun store owner in Chanute Kansas and Jeremy Kettler was one of his customers
In 2014 the men were arrested for violating federal gun laws even though they were following state gun laws
With the way things have been going for the State of Kansas, it should come as no surprise that Governor Sam Brownback is doing nothing as two men are facing jail time due to a law that he signed into action that should be protecting them.
In 2013, Brownback signed off on House Bill 2199, better known as the Second Amendment Protection Act (SAPA). It was deemed the most pro-Second Amendment law that was created to protect gun owners in Kansas.
What Is SAPA
SAPA made it so that all guns manufactured in Kansas, that never left the state, were entirely exempt from federal gun control laws. Those in support of SAPA had hopes that the new law would attract gun manufacturers to the area to set up shop.
The law was supposed to prevent any federal agent from enforcing federal gun laws within the State of Kansas, while at the same time pushing for the prosecution of any federal officers who attempted to enforce federal law in the state’s borders.
SAPA was also supposed to protect accessories and ammunition that was made in Kansas, once again, as long as the product did not leave the state.
Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler
Now, fast forward almost 4-years later, Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler are facing federal prison for acting within SAPA’s boundaries, and Brownback is doing nothing to stop it.
Cox was the owner of Tough Guys gun store in Chanute, Kansas, and Kettler was one of his customers. Cox was arrested in 2014 and in 2016 found guilty on eight charges of illegally making and marketing firearms. He was also found not guilty of two counts of possession of a destructive device.
Kettler, a disabled US Army veteran with a family and no prior charges, bought a “silencer” from Cox. He then filmed a live-fire test of the equipment. Kettler was found guilty on one count of purchasing the unregistered suppressor.
Tenth Amendment Violations
Cox and Kettler both were acting within the law of their state, which changes the cases from a Second Amendment situation to a Tenth Amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So how were these two men found guilty when they were following the law of their state? Because the federal government began fighting SAPA just days after taking effect.
Eric Holder Responds to SAPA
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote Brownback an official response stating that the federal government was not going to follow SAPA’s guidelines. In the letter, Holder stated that “Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Kansas may not prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their official responsibilities.”
Federal officers who are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations in order to maintain public safety cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution by a state and the continued performance of their federal duties.
Oddly enough, despite the negative response from the federal government, SAPA was never overturned in court. In 2014 the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence attempted to overturn SAPA but were denied by US District Court Judge Julie Robinson. However, during the trial of Cox, federal courts refused to hear any argument related to SAPA as a defense.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
On November 10, 2015, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt attempted to intervene in the case. A letter was sent from Schmidt to Judge J. Thomas Marten stating that the case had the potential to challenge the constitutionality of SAPA.
Kansas looked to enter the case at a District Court level. This would give Kansas officials the upper hand if the decision was appealed to the US Tenth Circuit, and ultimately the Supreme Court to defend SAPA.
Marten agreed that Schmidt’s office could participate if SAPA were further discussed. The day before trial Cox’s attorneys pushed for the case to be dismissed, claiming that SAPA falls under the Tenth Amendment, which guarantees protection against the federal government from interfering with state laws. Cox was simply acting under SAPA, which he believed was protected by the Tenth Amendment.
The motion to dismiss was disregarded, and Cox went to trial where he was found guilty. Now Cox and Kettler both are waiting for their approaching sentencing while Brownback appears to be remaining silent.