A proposal to allow Kansas residents 21 years old and older to carry concealed firearms without a permit was approved Wednesday by the state House, despite some members' misgivings because the state would no longer require training.
The vote was 85-39. The Senate passed the measure last month, but the House made a technical change in committee that senators must review. The Senate signed off, 31-8, about two hours after the House's vote.
The current permit costs $132.50, and a person seeking one must undergo eight hours of firearms training. The bill's opponents say the state still should require some training to carry concealed.
Both chambers of the Republican-dominated Legislature have strong gun-rights majorities and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign the bill into law immediately.
The National Rifle Association says Kansas becomes the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders.
The House also approved, 100-24, a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing special fees and taxes on guns or gun sales. It would follow up on a law last year aimed at nullifying local restrictions and goes to the Senate.
"Carrying a gun is a lifestyle," said Republican Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, of Palco. "The government should trust its citizens."
All states allow some form of concealed carry, but the NRA says only Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow it everywhere in the state without a permit, though Montana allows it without a permit outside of cities, which is most of the state.
Kansas enacted its law in 2006 and about 87,000 people 21 and older hold valid permits.
State law has long allowed people to carry firearms openly without requiring training, and backers of the bill said gun owners have shown they are responsible with their firearms.
"Kansans already have two documents granting them the right to concealed carry -- the Constitution of the United States and the Kansas Constitution," Couture-Lovelady said. "That should be all they need."
The state would continue to issue permits so that its residents could carry concealed in other states recognizing the Kansas permit.
But even some gun-rights supporters said they were nervous about no longer requiring training for everyone who wants to carry concealed. House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City Democrat, said that in continually lessening restrictions in Kansas lawmakers are "getting caught up in extremism."
And Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, said: "I have concerns with the type of culture that we're creating, when guns are in more places, particularly among children."
Wilson said he is concerned about the loss of the training requirement.
"If I walk into a restaurant with my family with my 2 1/2-year-old son, I won't know who has been properly trained and who has not," he said. "At least if I see their gun I can leave, but now I have no idea."
The proposal drew a mixed reaction at OMB Guns in Olathe.
"More good people will have guns and I think it will deter the bad people from robbing people," Ken Nagle said.
Adam Bellew of OMB Guns said gun safety training should be required "to teach you that you're responsible for every round that comes out of that firearm."
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