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Archive for Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Concealed-weapons bill forwarded to House

February 24, 2004

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— A bill that would allow Kansans to carry concealed weapons cleared a hurdle Monday.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee voted 13-7 to send the legislation to the full House, along with an amendment defining school property. The bill prohibits concealed guns in government buildings and schools, but the committee had a hard time determining what constitutes school property.

Kansas is one of only four states that do not allow residents to carry concealed firearms.

Under the bill, an applicant for a concealed-carry permit would submit paperwork and a $150 application fee to the local sheriff's office.

The sheriff would keep $40 and forward $110 plus the paperwork to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which would conduct background checks and issue permits to qualified applicants.

KBI officials have said the agency is neutral on the question of concealed weapons but opposes being given the administrative responsibilities required by the bill.

A concealed guns bill won legislative approval in 1997 but was vetoed by then-Gov. Bill Graves. Similar legislation in 1999 didn't pass in the House and never got out of a committee in the Senate.

Proponents this year say women should be allowed to carry concealed weapons to protect themselves. Rep. L. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, told the committee that some rape victims already carry concealed guns.

Opponents argue the bill would put more guns on the street and increase the chances for accidental shootings.

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