Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a guns permit-free concealed carry bill on Thursday. The new law takes effect on July 1, allowing Kansans 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon without training on how to use a gun. Kansas is the sixth state to allow for “constitutional carry,” in which citizens are free to possess a concealed weapon regardless of whether they’ve obtained a permit, according to the Kansas City Star.
Kansans must have training in order to carry a concealed weapon in the other 36 states that accept Kansas permits. Brownback does encourage training, sharing that his own son took a hunting safety course this week. His son got a lot out of it and hopes others will make the same choice.
Why would Brownback sign a guns permit-free concealed carry bill if he believes in training? It’s about adhering to constitutional rights, the governor explains.
“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. It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right.”
Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat, says law enforcement officers are predicting more accidents — even deaths after the July 1 bill is in place. Carrying a concealed weapon is a big responsibility and is dangerous, Faust-Goudeau said.
Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, a Republican from north-central Kansas, doesn’t think the latest bill will impact the concealed carry law that was adopted in Kansas in 2006.
“Training is an ongoing, personal responsibility. It’s not something the government can mandate. … It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ when you talk about the lifestyle of carrying a gun.”
The attorney general’s office reveals that about 87,000 people have a concealed-carry permit in Kansas, with more than 17,000 of them being in Sedgwick County.
Kansas State Rifle Association President Patricia Stoneking approves of the permit-free concealed carry law and hopes the age limit will be lowered to 18.
“18-year-olds are allowed to open carry, and they go to war and put their lives on the line to protect this country. 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.”
The Huffington Post reports that Loren Stanton — president of the Kansas chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence — doesn’t think it’s wise for Kansans to be allowed to carry concealed weapons without any type of training.
“There is no way that taking away training can make guns safer,” Stanton says.
Time will tell if Governor Brownback’s signature on the guns permit-free concealed carry bill made things worse — or will have little impact in the state as far as gun violence goes.
[Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]