The American Cancer Society says that a bill being pushed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Kansas to ban lobbying against guns would also restrict anti-smoking and anti-drinking programs.
State Senate Bill 45 prevents “any money appropriated by the state legislature” from being used to “promote any proposed, pending or future federal, state or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product, including its sale or marketing, including, but not limited to, the advocacy or promotion of gun control.”
Democratic state Sen. David Haley told The Topeka Capital-Journal that in its effort to block gun control, the NRA was supporting language that prevents state dollars from being used against “any legal consumer product,” which means that the measure that would also “stop doing what has already been working well” to curb the abuse of alcohol and tobacco.
“I am concerned about making sure we keep certain legal products out of the hands of children,” Haley explained.
Chris Masoner, the American Cancer Society’s Kansas director of government policy, pointed out that a Tobacco Use Prevention Program run by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) would have to be shut down if bill becomes law.
After attending a state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee hearing on the bill, Masoner said he was “astounded” at the “breadth of this law” because it would also prevent the Kansas Attorney General from fighting for restrictions on electronic cigarettes and synthetic marijuana products like K2.
Republican state Sen. Michael O’Donnell insisted that the state could still use federal grants to fund anti-smoking campaign and he was willing to consider “grandfathering in” certain legal products.
But O’Donnell and Kansas State Rifle Association President Patricia Stoneking agreed that the bill would put an immediate halt to any effort to control or restrict guns.
For example, the Board of Regents would not have been able to lobby against last year’s bill that would have allowed concealed firearms at universities and colleges. A similar bill is expected to be introduced again this year when the legislature meets on Feb. 11.
“They’d be lobbying against a legal product,” Stoneking explained.
A KDHE program to educate parents on proper gun safety practices — such as making sure that guns are unloaded, locked and out of the reach of children — would also be banned under Senate Bill 45.
“I think the major concern here is KDHE,” NRA spokesperson told Brent Gardner told Democratic state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau. “They’ve put forth pamphlets and booklets providing for one-size-fits-all gun control measures.”
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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