Kansas moving toward allowing concealed guns without permit - KCTV5 News

Kansas moving toward allowing concealed guns without permit

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Kansas is moving toward removing what some gun rights advocates see as its last major restriction on firearms, with the state Senate giving first-round approval Wednesday to a bill that would end a requirement for permits to carry concealed weapons. Kansas is moving toward removing what some gun rights advocates see as its last major restriction on firearms, with the state Senate giving first-round approval Wednesday to a bill that would end a requirement for permits to carry concealed weapons.
TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill to allow people to carry concealed guns without requiring them to get a state permit or take training classes.

The vote Thursday was 31-7. The House will now consider the measure.

The bill is sponsored by 26 of the chamber's 40 members, led by Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Nickerson.

Both chambers have strong gun rights majorities, and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback has signed every major piece of gun rights legislation since he took office in January 2011.

A state concealed carry permit costs $132.50, and a person must undergo eight hours of training to get one.

Gun-rights groups note Kansas has long allowed the open carrying of weapons without a state permit. The bill's critics say training should be mandated for people carrying concealed weapons.

The National Rifle Association says Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming don't require permits to carry concealed anywhere in the state. Montana allows concealed carry without a permit outside cities, which is most of the state.

"The citizens of this state have a right to defend themselves without going through the permit process," said Sen. Jake LaTurner, a Pittsburg Republican, another sponsor of the measure

The bill would apply to anyone 21 or older who can legally carry a gun. Critics contend the current permit requirement ensures that people who carry concealed have some firearms training.

"That's my big deal," said Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat who opposes the bill. "I just think that carrying without that training, maybe down the road, has some dangerous side effects."

Kansas did not enact a concealed carry law until 2006, when legislators overrode a veto by then-Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The state started issuing permits in 2007 and has granted more than 90,000.

A string of high-profile political victories for gun rights advocates followed. In 2010, voters approved a constitutional amendment to emphasize that gun ownership is an individual right. Kansas last year enacted an NRA-backed law prohibiting local restrictions on gun sales and ownership. A 2013 law declares that the federal government has no authority to regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas.

"It is certainly a different mindset," said Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association. "A much more pleasant one."

But Faust-Goudeau said: "We're going back to the wild, wild West."

Among those voting for the measure was Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City. He said his constituents support it, saying he heard from small business owners and mothers who wanted to protect themselves and their families.

"I've heard of incidents where people who needed a weapon and wanted to have a weapon weren't able to," he said.

But others, including gun-rights supporters, think permits and training are a necessity.

"I see people coming in with their firearm improperly holstered and that's a concern to me," said Tyler Brown, of OMB Guns in Olathe.

He knows he could see more sales as a result of the pending legislation, but he wants to ensure guns are properly stored and handled so that accidental discharges don't happen.

Judy Sherry of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is appalled by what Kansas lawmakers appear poised to adopt.

"We're saying now that civilians should have no training to carry a gun that could kill someone," Sherry said. "It doesn't make sense."

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