Judge Expects Gun Issues to Take Center Stage in Elections
WICHITA, Kan. - A Sedgwick County Judge expects gun-related issues to take center stage in next year's mid-term elections. Judge Phil Journey made the prediction Thursday evening during a meeting of the Kansas Republican Assembly. Journey does not expect the national debate over tighter gun laws to cool down before Congressional elections in 2014.
"I think the Second Amendment issue has always been one that's been an important issue," Journey said. "It's certainly been in the top five for the past 30 years." Journey expects the Second Amendment to become one of the top two campaign issues in the next election cycle.
The national debate over gun laws has not shown any sign of easing. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback telling him a new state law related to guns is unconstitutional. That law, which passed with bipartisan support, declares the federal government has no authority to regulate firearms, ammunition or accessories that are manufactured in Kansas, sold in Kansas and that remain in Kansas.
Journey feels Kansas lawmakers passed the bill as a political statement since the federal government already cannot regulate intrastate commerce. He is not sure there will be a legal challenge to the law. "I don't think that's really going to be that big an issue and it really was more of a policy statement in support of the right to keep and bear arms rather than trying to create a new crime that's actually going to be prosecuted," Journey said.
If the Kansas law is challenged, Journey said, there will likely already be precedent set by any challenges to similar laws passed by other states. "The first one was Montana and that was about eight years ago," he said. "Their law is now in front of the United States Court of Appeals in San Francisco, so we'll all be watching that one and see how it turns out."
Meanwhile, political posturing on both sides of the gun issue is likely to continue. "That's politics," Journey said. "Good people say what they believe and believe what they say and so sometimes they'll take a position they think they believe is correct and then it gets tested."