Leavenworth County attorney's push for stricter gun laws success - KCTV5

Leavenworth County attorney's push for stricter gun laws a success

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TOPEKA, KS (KCTV) -

A local county attorney pushed for stricter gun laws and Thursday his efforts paid off.

The bill was signed in Topeka and now authorities hope it will keep the bad guys behind bars even longer.

It's a bill Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson has been pushing for some time. Now, criminals caught with a stolen firearm are facing a much more serious felony.

"This is something I felt we could attack firearms where the real root of the problem is - with criminals having a firearm," Thompson said.

With a swipe of the pen, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law House Bill No. 2278, making it a felony anytime someone is caught with a stolen firearm. Previously the law looked at just the value of the gun. If it was worth less than $1,000, the person with the stolen weapon would face just a misdemeanor charge.

"We didn't like the penalty being so low for taking a firearm and we see significant difference for just stealing a phone or a wallet or stealing a firearm," Thompson said.

With nationwide scrutiny over federal gun laws, Thompson said the law will give his office another tool when prosecuting repeat offenders.

"I hope it does have an impact on career criminals and hope it takes into account that we have harsher punishment for firearms," he said.

"We do come in contact with a lot of stolen firearms," said Sgt. Neil Vogel with the Leavenworth Police Department.

Vogel works narcotics and frequently comes across stolen firearms during drug investigations and search warrants. He joined forces with Thompson to push the bill through, believing it will only make his community much safer in the long run

"It gives the criminal element another thing to think about. ‘If I'm going to be in possession of a firearm and it's stolen, I've got another charge I'm going to face,'" Vogel said.

The law will go into effect on July 1.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Legislature has sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to nullify federal gun control laws and allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons.

The measure would declare all federal laws regulating guns to be unenforceable within Missouri's borders. It would also allow guns less than 16-inches to be openly carried, even in places that have ordinances prohibiting open-carry.

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