The Constitution of the State of Kansas provides that “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”1
There has not been much recent case law on this subject. In 1905, the Supreme Court of Kansas, in the case of City of Salina v. Blaksley, held that Bill of Rights section 4 (“section 4”) does not confer an individual right to “bear arms.” Rather, it only protects the rights of a member of the state militia or other military organization provided for by law.2 The Blaksley court rejected a section 4 challenge to a state statute that prohibited the carrying of a handgun while under the influence of alcohol, stating that section 4 “refers to the people as a collective body.”3 The court emphasized that section 4 “deals exclusively with the military; individual rights are not considered in this section.”4 The court noted that the defendant in the case was not a member of an organized militia or other military organization, “and was therefore not within the provision of the bill of rights and was not protected by its terms.”5
In more recent cases, the Supreme Court of Kansas, consistent with Blaksley, has largely rejected section 4 challenges to state statutes and local ordinances regulating firearms.6
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- Kan. Const. B. of R. § 4.
- City of Salina v. Blaksley, 83 P. 619 (Kan. 1905).
- Id. at 620.
- Id. at 621.
- See State v. Bolin, 436 P.2d 978 (Kan. 1968) (rejecting section 4 challenge to a state law proscribing the ownership or possession of a pistol by any person convicted of burglary); Junction City v. Lee, 532 P.2d 1292 (Kan. 1975) (rejecting section 4 challenge to a local ordinance prohibiting certain use of handguns and knives); s ee also State v. Knight, 241 P.3d 120, 133 (Kan. Ct. App. 2009), reh’g denied, 2011 Kan. LEXIS 391 (Kan. 2011) (rejecting section 4 challenge to a state regulation against carrying concealed weapons); but see Junction City v. Mevis, 601 P.2d 1145 (Kan. 1979) (striking down, as overbroad, a statute criminalizing most firearm possession).