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Archive for Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Expected veto of concealed gun bill won’t face override try, sponsor says

April 14, 2004

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— A House sponsor of concealed-handguns legislation that has been sent to the governor says there will be no attempt to override an expected veto of the measure.

Rep. L. Candy Ruff said Tuesday there are not enough votes to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' threatened veto, so there's no reason to try.

"We'll wait until next year and bring it back," said Ruff, D-Leavenworth. "This is the type of issue that doesn't go away, because it's that important. Forty-six states have already passed this legislation, so it's not unusual, odd or weird."

The House approved its version of the bill on a 78-45 vote -- six favorable votes short of the 84 needed to override a veto. The House would get first shot at overriding a veto, since the bill originated in that chamber.

Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said the governor has been very clear that she would support legislation allowing retired law enforcement officers -- but no one else -- to carry concealed handguns. The current bill "is not something the governor will support," Corcoran said Tuesday.

Under Kansas law, Sebelius has 10 days to act on a bill once it has reached her desk or it automatically becomes law without her signature. Sebelius' deadline on the concealed-carry bill is Friday, the same day the 2004 Governor's Annual One-Shot Turkey Hunt begins in El Dorado.

The bill on the governor's desk 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.

The legislation prohibits concealed handguns in several locations but would allow them in the Statehouse, school parking lots and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Ruff said the fate of concealed-carry next year could depend on who gets elected to the Legislature this November and how strongly supporters feel about passing the measure -- even if it means Democrats having to oppose their Democratic governor.

"I do think that on this issue Democrats have got to realize there are some things you've got to stand up for," Ruff said. "You have to stand up and say despite everything else, ma'am, you're not right on this issue."

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Concealed guns is HB 2798.

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