``There is no city ordinance that would prohibit a minor from having a firearm, as long as it is not concealed or discharging, but there may be a state law,'' said David Corliss, director of legal services for the City of Lawrence.
In fact, there is no state law that bars Kansas youths from keeping guns, if the gun is long enough and it isn't concealed.
According to state statutes, children can lawfully possess and openly carry guns in Lawrence and most of Kansas, if the weapon has a barrel 12 inches or longer.
That means rifles such as those used in school killings in Springfield, Ore., and Jonesboro, Ark., are legal in the hands of Kansas minors. All but extremely long-barreled handguns are not.
Kansas law does bar anyone except authorized individuals, such as police, from carrying firearms, regardless of barrel length, on public or private school property.
Theoretically, a 14-year-old could sit across the street from a school yard with a deer rifle without violating Kansas law.
If he then walked across the street into the school yard but did not utter a threat or discharge the rifle, he could be charged with a crime.
``Possession (of a firearm) on any school property or at a regular extracurricular K-12 event, or refusal to surrender or remove a firearm when directed or requested by proper authority is a crime,'' said Jared Maag, assistant Kansas attorney general.
``Basically, that's a misdemeanor until you get into some other'' criminal activity such as assault, battery, or attempted murder.
-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.