I recently wrote about the Second Amendment trial for two gentlemen, Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler, who were charged with a total of 13 counts of federal offenses, including 11 violations of the National Firearms Act. (If you missed that read, click here to get brought up to speed). On Monday, 11/14, the jury came back rather quickly with a guilty verdict for the two, but this trial is far from over. There are many more plays that the State of Kansas will make to defend the constitutionality of the Second Amendment Protection Act (SAPA) which will cause this case to likely go all the way up to the Supreme Court for its final say.
The jury came back after a quick deliberation and convicted Cox and Kettler on all but 4 counts; 2 counts on unlawful possession of a destructive device were not guilty, and 2 counts for conspiracy and making a false statement that the judge ordered to be thrown out. Following the conviction, both Kettler and Cox will be sentenced at a hearing ordered for 2/6/2017 at 10am. This guilty verdict is not entirely surprising as the jury was instructed to look at if the defendants were in violation of the National Firearms Act and to essentially disregard any testimony referencing the Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act. Instruction 19 reads in part:
"[I]t is not a defense to a charge under§ 5861 that a defendant may have believed, based on a Kansas law, that the National Firearms Act did not require registration of a firearm."
Despite the guilty verdict, the State of Kansas has some cards to play. As previously noted, the Kansas Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, filed and was granted a Motion to Intervene in the case due to the fact that the law's constitutionality would no doubt be called into question. At this stage, the District Court was not able to make that determination one way or the other. They were trying Cox and Kettler on whether or not they broke Federal law. That said, because of the conflicting Kansas law, that brings the constitutionality into question once it gets appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
AG Schmidt filed a brief to the Court establishing their basis for appeal. He stated that SAPA "is a constitutional and effective exercise of the police power reserved to the State of Kansas by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. No court, including this Court, has ruled to the contrary." He went on to state:
"If... this Court were to find the constitutionality of the Second Amendment Protection Act to be at issue here, the Court should hold that the Kansas Act is constitutional because it merely regulates what the federal government may not regulate, i.e., to the extent any federal law may conflict with the Act, that very federal law is based on an unconstitutional assertion of federal authority and is itself invalid, as the State argued in Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence v. Brownback, D."
The case to which AG Schmidt is referring is a lawsuit that the Brady Campaign filed against the State of Kansas on SAPA in 2014. That case was dismissed by the Court, citing a "lack of subject matter jurisdiction." This has established the ground game for the State of Kansas to defend SAPA, however, it will be an uphill battle to say the least. The National Firearms Act has been "justified" in the past citing Congress' power to levy taxes. We will keep you informed as this case continues.
Make sure to Like us on Facebook, share this with everyone you know, and stay tuned! It's not over yet!