New legislation goes into effect on July 1 that will allow Kansans to carry concealed firearms without a permit for the first time.
The law, signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in early April, eliminates the permitting process and adds several new guidelines for concealed carry, according to this story from NewsPressNow.com.
The new regulations allow state residents 21 years of age and older to carry a gun concealed without a permit or training. If a resident wishes to carry in any of the 36 states that accept Kansas permits, they will have to prove they’ve undergone firearms training.
Kansas residents can already carry openly without a permit.
The legislation also includes new posting requirements for buildings where the open carrying of firearms can be prohibited. Private businesses can still forbid it, but public spaces like parks and municipal buildings must allow it, according to this story from LeaderandTimes.com. The law also makes it illegal to operate, possess, or carry a concealed handgun while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
Sheriff Jack Laurie of Atchison County told NewsPressNow that concealed carry laws and permits do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and that carrying concealed is a better alternative to openly carrying a firearms.
“I’m a big supporter of (concealed carry) and I promote that people do carry concealed if they choose to carry a gun,” he said. “You know, when they do open carry, it does draw attention. A lot of times, when it is legal to carry open, there are people who don’t understand that and call the police.”
However, Laurie went on to say that he is concerned about the lack of a requirement for training.
Gov. Brownback, who is a proponent of firearms training, was asked by the Kansas City Star in April why he didn’t think it should be required.
“It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right,” Brownback said. “We’re saying that if you want to do that in this state, then you don’t have to get the permission slip from the government.”
Laurie agreed but said there is a responsibility placed on any person who chooses to carry.
“Just because you have the right to carry a gun doesn’t mean you need to carry a gun,” Laurie said. “Meaning, that if you aren’t familiar with guns, and you don’t know how to operate guns, and you don’t know how to take them apart and clean them safely, things like that, then you probably don’t have any business carrying a gun.”
Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association, said she would like to see the age requirement lowered to 18 in the future.
“Eighteen-year-olds are allowed to open carry, and they go to war and put their lives on the line to protect this country,” Stoneking said. “I believe we can lower the age to 18 at some point in the future. I think after everybody sees that there are not going to be any of the dire predictions coming true, and they relax a little bit, then we can talk about that.”
Currently, about 87,000 people hold concealed-carry permits in Kansas, according to the attorney general’s office.