Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Friday she intends to veto a bill legislators have sent her to allow Kansans to carry concealed handguns.
"While I haven't seen a final bill, unless there's something in it that I don't understand, it would be my intent to veto it," Sebelius said in her weekly news conference.
Asked to rate the chances that she would let the bill become law without her signature, Sebelius said: "None."
The measure would require the attorney general's office to issue a concealed-carry permit to any Kansan 21 or older who is a U.S. citizen, pays a $150 application fee, has no mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction and completes eight hours of training.
As amended by the Senate last week and passed by the House on a 78-46 vote Thursday, the bill would allow concealed guns in the Statehouse, school parking lots and restaurants that serve alcohol. Many other venues would be off-limits.
Sebelius has said repeatedly she supports allowing concealed carry only for retired law enforcement officers.
Legislators can override a governor's veto with two-thirds majorities in both chambers. The bill had cleared the Senate by a veto-proof margin, but received six fewer House votes than would be needed to override a veto in that chamber.
Rep. L. Candy Ruff, one of the measure's primary sponsors, said proponents will continue to lobby the Democratic governor. But she said it was unlikely the House would override a veto.
"There are too many loyal Democrats," said Ruff, D-Leavenworth, who vowed to push the bill again next year if Sebelius vetoed it.
"It comes back every year until it becomes law," Ruff said. "It's worth fighting for."
Under the bill, concealed guns would be banned in schools, city halls, courthouses, state office buildings besides the Capitol, the Kansas State Fair, bars and taverns. Businesses and individuals would be able to post signs banning concealed guns, and violators could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
Supporters of the bill contend that the measure would allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. Opponents predict it would lead to more gun-related violence.
Only Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin do not have some type of concealed-carry law.
Concealed carry is HB 2798.
On the Net:
Kansas Legislature: http://www.kslegislature.org