Archive for Saturday, March 27, 2004

Senate advances version of concealed-carry bill

March 27, 2004


— Senators approved a bill Friday night that would allow Kansans to carry concealed weapons, including at the Statehouse.

The measure, approved on a 28-12 vote, would require the attorney general's office to issue a concealed-carry permit to any Kansan 21 or older who pays a $150 application fee and is a U.S. citizen, has no mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction and completes eight hours of training.

As approved earlier by the House, the measure would have put the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in charge of issuing permits. The Senate switched that duty to the attorney general's office.

Senators rejected a series of amendments expanding the list of places where concealed guns would be banned, as well as a proposal to allow Kansans to carry concealed stun guns -- but not handguns.

Concealed weapons would be forbidden in schools, city halls, courthouses, state office buildings, the Kansas State Fair, bars and taverns.

But the Senate deleted the Statehouse and restaurants that serve alcohol from the list of places where concealed guns would be prohibited.

"If this is good legislation for the rest of Kansas, it ought to be good legislation for the Capitol building," said Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, who offered the amendment taking the Statehouse off the list. "We should enjoy the benefits of that extra security here in the Capitol building."

Kerr later voted against the bill.

Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, offered a series of amendments banning concealed guns in hospitals, day care centers, churches and banks. All of those proposals failed after concealed carry supporters said people going to and from those places need to protect themselves.

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.

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