U.S. senators from Kansas vote against bipartisan federal gun safety legislation

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TOPEKA — U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran voted Thursday against gun safety reforms supported by two-thirds of the chamber’s members, including 15 Republicans and all Democrats.

The Kansas GOP lawmakers rejected the Gun Violence Prevention Bill crafted in wake of mass shootings in Texas and New York during May that left 21 dead in a Uvalde elementary school and 10 dead at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo.

The legislation passed 65-33 was scheduled for a vote Friday in the U.S. House, where it was expected to pass and move to President Joe Biden.

Marshall said he wouldn’t sacrifice the right of Kansans to bear arms for a “gun-grabbing scheme.” He predicted adoption of the measure would strip law-abiding people of Second Amendment rights.

Under the bill, federal grants would be provided to states for crisis intervention programs. Congressional aid would flow to states with red-flag laws, which enable law enforcement officers to petition a state court to temporary remove firearms from people thought to be danger to others or themselves.

“Red-flag laws not only violate the Second Amendment, but they are also begging to be abused by individuals who do not have a shred of respect for due process,” Marshall said. “I do not doubt that the corrupt political actors who have infiltrated the American legal system at various levels would happily oblige.”

The bill would strengthen federal penalties for gun trafficking. It would enhance background checks for people 18 to 21. It also would clarify who was considered a firearm seller for purposes of background checks on potential buyers. Another section would keep guns away from non-spouse dating partners convicted of abuse.

Instead, Marshall recommended Congress use COVID-19 relief funding to bolster security at schools and pay salaries of armed guards. In addition, he endorsed tax incentives to people completing firearm safety courses or properly storing weapons.

U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, the 4th District Republican from Kansas, said he would vote against the Senate-passed bill. He said the legislation fell short of protecting students and inhibited the ability of citizens to use guns for personal protection.

“Our focus should be on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, securing schools and enhancing mental health programs through enforcement of existing laws,” he said.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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