March 25th. By a huge margin both houses of the State Legislature have passed a proposed constitutional amendment, that will appear on the next General Election or Special Election ballot for ratification. The amendment would alter the State Constitution to overturn the 104 year-old decision in City of Salina v. Blaksley, which held that the right to bear arms was collective in nature. The proposed new wording would alter section 4 of the Kansas Bill of Rights to state:
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
in place of the existing
The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security
The remaining wording about standing armies would remain untouched. The proposed amendment passed the State Senate by a margin of 39-1 and the House by 116-9, far exceeding the necessary 2/3rds requirement.
The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in City of Salina v. Blaksley is notable mainly for being the first court decision which invoked the now debunked “collective rights” interpretation of the right to bear arms. The decision was issued by a unanimous court in November 1905. At present this case and its progeny remain valid law in the State of Kansas (although the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in District of Columbia v. Heller contains it to the state constitution). However, in the 1970s the court backtracked somewhat from the pure collective rights position when it found that a municipal ordinance banning the transportation of a firearm in all circumstances to be over broad.