Kansas lawmakers react to Obama annoucement

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The debate over gun control, reactions to gun violence and gun regulations will be a part of President Barack Obama’s legacy when he leaves office.

On Tuesday, 11 months before his successor is named, he proposed executive actions he thinks will curb future violence.

“The constant excuses for inaction no longer do; no longer suffice. That’s why we’re here today,” he said Tuesday morning standing in the crowded East Room of the White House.

The bullet points of the actions, according to the White House, are to “keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, make our communities safer from gun violence, increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system and shape the future of gun safety technology.”

“Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions,” Obama said during his announcement.

In the future, Kansas residents looking to purchase a gun from a gun shop may be subject to a background check that includes information about your mental health.

And some Kansas lawmakers think that goes too far.

“President Obama is set to start this year how he finished the last – with more unilateral executive actions,” Rep Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, said in a statement. ” This time, (he) is attempting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Jenkins went on to say her background in rural Kansas helps her understand that the 2nd Amendment is an “integral part of our history.”

Congressman Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, echoed Jenkins in his own statement Tuesday.

“We are all pained by the recent acts of violence in our country, yet not one of the changes the president is considering would have saved any of those lives that were lost,” he said. “I will fight any attempt by the presidnet to circumvent Congress, the Supreme Court, and the U. S. Constitution by taking any executive action to unlawfully restrict Kansans’ gun rights.”

But Obama said these proposals are not the start of “a slide” into massive gun confiscation.

“This is a state that, by in large, is very, very against any type of gun regulation at all and they elect legislators that reflect that,” said state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Leawood. ” I think, I believe in restrictions for past violent offenders. I don’t think that rapists or people who commit domestic violence should really have a gun. I think that might cut down on people dying.”

There are still questions surrounding any updates or changes to the background check but U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch sent a letter to the States alerting them to important steps like receiving a “complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness, and qualifying crimes of domestic violence,” when it comes to conducting background checks.

One Kansas lawmaker thinks there will be trickle down effects.

“Common people of the state, the majority of people who want common sense gun laws will say we probably need some new people representing us,” said state Rep. Barbara Bollier, (R) – Kansas.


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