By Kris W. Kobach for Breitbart News
On Monday afternoon, the Kansas legislature voted to override the Democrat governor’s veto on two powerful, conservative bills. Both bills make clear that Kansas wants nothing of the Left’s radical agenda on guns and elections.
The gun bill was approved 84-39 in the House, which was just enough to override the veto. It garnered an even larger majority in the Senate, which voted 31-8 in favor.
The new gun law does three important things. First, it reduces the minimum concealed carry age from 21 to 18. In order to carry a concealed firearm, 18-20 year-olds would have to pass concealed-carry training and carry a permit. Second, it recognizes the validity of other states’ concealed carry permits. And third, the law allows people who have committed lesser crimes and have had those crimes expunged by a judge to regain their right to keep and bear arms after a time.
Kansas was already one of the strongest states in the union when it came to gun rights. Now it’s even better. In addition to the newly-minted law, Kansas also has a constitutional carry statute (allowing concealed carry without a permit for those over the age of 21), as well as a Second Amendment Protection Act that limits the enforcement of federal statutes that exceed Congress’s constitutional authority under the Commerce Power. In short, Kansas has done just about everything possible to secure firearms rights, even when President Biden is trying to move Congress in the opposite direction.
The Kansas elections bill is also a powerful statement. Just when Major League Baseball, woke corporations, and DC Leftists are trying to nationalize elections and eliminate state laws that protect the integrity of the vote, Kansas took a step that makes Georgia’s voting laws look tame by comparison.
Kansas was already arguably the strongest state in the country when it came to securing elections against fraud. When I was the Kansas secretary of state, Kansas became the first state in the nation to require photo ID for voting at the polls, photo ID for absentee ballots, and proof of citizenship at the time of registration. In addition, Kansas is the only state that authorizes the secretary of state, the attorney general, and all county attorneys to prosecute election crimes.
The new law requires county officials to match the voters’ signatures when the ballot envelopes are received by the county, in order for the ballots to count. Kansas law already required the signature to be matched when the absentee ballot was first requested by the voter. In addition, the new law prohibits the backdating of ballot envelopes. The new law also makes ballot harvesting extremely difficult, by requiring a voter to fill out a signed authorization before anyone can deliver his absentee ballot for him; and it prohibits anyone from delivering more than ten other voters’ absentee ballots on their behalf. Lastly, the law blocks “Zucker bucks” by stopping private companies and organizations from giving money to fund election infrastructure.
Support for the elections legislation was overwhelming, with both houses voting to override the governor’s veto with room to spare. The vote was 85-38 in the House and 28-12 in the Senate.
Finally, in a move that perfectly symbolized the Kansas Legislature’s attitude on both topics, the legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill that allowed new state license plates bearing the Gadsden Flag. Whether it’s King George or President Biden, “Don’t tread on me” sums up Kansas’s message to Washington.
Kris W. Kobach served as the elected Secretary of State of Kansas during 2011-19. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law. In 2017 President Trump tapped him to lead the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. He currently serves as General Counsel for the Alliance for Free Citizens.