Archive for Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bar owners surprised by change in concealed carry law

New regulations relaxed gun restrictions in taverns

June 8, 2008

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Hidden Heat: Concealed carry in Kansas
Finding places that allow you to carry a concealed weapon in Lawrence is not hard, Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn found. A new law that went into effect July 1 makes it even easier to obtain a concealed carry permit.

In summer 2007, reporter Chad Lawhorn embarked on a project to document the process of receiving a concealed carry permit in Kansas. Follow Lawhorn as he goes through the steps - from buying a gun to carrying it on the streets - and learn more about some of the people and places he encountered along the way More

For the past year, some Lawrence bar owners unknowingly have been inviting concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded guns into their taverns.

Kansas legislators made changes to the state's concealed carry law during the 2007 session that significantly loosened restrictions on concealed carry holders bringing their weapons into drinking establishments.

That was news to local bar owners and hospitality industry leaders.

"You're (expletive) me," said Rick Renfro, owner of Johnny's Tavern in North Lawrence.

Renfro, like the vast majority of bar owners in Lawrence, does not have a no-guns-allowed sign posted at his bar's entrances. Renfro said he believed the state law made bars and taverns automatically prohibited places for concealed carry holders to enter with their weapons, regardless of whether a sign was posted.

That is how the law read when it originally passed in 2006. But during the 2007 session, legislators made several changes. One was that bars - along with several other once automatically prohibited places - would have to post a no-guns sign if they wanted to prohibit concealed carry holders from bringing their guns on the premises.

Now the law is clear that concealed carry holders cannot be cited for breaking the law by entering a tavern unless the tavern has the state-approved sign posted, said Chuck Sexson, the director of the concealed carry program for the Kansas Attorney General's office. The law took effect nearly a year ago, on July 1, 2007.

The law still does make it illegal for a concealed carry permit holder to have a weapon with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08, the same level for driving under the influence. People without a concealed carry license also cannot bring a gun into a bar, or anywhere else.

Several bar owners, though, said they didn't like the idea of any patron having a gun in their establishments.

"I don't think anybody who is drinking alcohol should be carrying a gun. It won't do anything to help improve their decision making," said Brad Ziegler, who owns parts of three Lawrence bars and had not heard of the change until informed by a reporter.

Sexson, with the attorney general's office, said the intent of the law was not to encourage people to carry a weapon while drinking. He said concealed carry instructors are told to stress that guns and alcohol do not mix.

Instead, Sexson said the change was designed to clear up confusion about when a concealed carry holder could legally enter an establishment that served alcohol. Under the previous regulations, bars and taverns were automatically prohibited but restaurants that served alcohol were not.

"We got a lot of questions about that," Sexson said.

There was not an easy answer to give to confused permit holders, he said. That's because the law defined food-serving taverns and alcohol-serving restaurants based on the percentage of food sales the establishment made. That's information not easily available to a permit holder. Phil Bradley, executive director of the Lawrence-based Kansas Licensed Beverage Association, doesn't like the law change, but said he's equally concerned that no one seemed to make an effort to notify bar owners of the change. He said he did not know of the change, even though he followed the Legislature closely. He said he expected many bar owners across the state weren't aware of the new rules.

"I think all this is dangerous at best," Bradley said.

Sen. Phil Journey, a Haysville Republican who supported the change, is making no apologies about how the process was handled. The attorney general's office did post a summary of changes to the law on its Web site. But Journey said it was mainly up to organizations such as Bradley's to inform their members of changes.

"That's not my obligation," Journey said. "They are published in the statute book and published in the Kansas Register. That's public notice, and there certainly was debate in the legislature."

Much of the media attention on H.B. 2528 focused on provisions prohibiting cities from taking action to exempt themselves from parts of the concealed carry act. That's why a Lawrence law prohibiting guns within 200 feet of any drinking establishment doesn't apply to concealed carry permit holders.

But the most recent change in state law did surprise city leaders. Scott Miller, a city attorney who provides legal advice to the Lawrence Police Department, wasn't aware of the changes made to bars and taverns. He said he would be informing the police department of the changes. And he said the law was written in a way that the city could not pass a local ordinance to exempt itself from the provision.

Bradley said he might lobby the Legislature to change the law in 2009. In the meantime, bar owners will be deciding whether to post signs. Renfro said he almost certainly would, but won't like the fact.

"I feel like those signs almost encourage it and make it more of an issue," Renfro said. "I specifically did not put them up because I did not want to bring up the image of a knife and gun club."

Comments

vpete69 6 years, 11 months ago

In 99.9999999% of the cases, I'm more worried about the unarmed guy leaving the bar and getting into his car than I am about a sober CCL holder. It will only be a matter of time before the KS legislature recognizes that CC isn't the 'bloodbath' the left warned that it would be. In several other CCH states, CCH licensees are exempt from criminal prosecution for entering a 'posted' building. Kansas will soon follow suit.If you dont like guns and concealed carry, move to DC. There, you can enjoy a full ban on ALL operational firearms and the highest crime rate in the country.

farmgal 6 years, 12 months ago

Ken61 wrote: CCW permit holders are the most law abiding people in the country. They do not "shoot up" bars.Agreed. Once in a great while, I go to a bar to listen to a band. I don't drink when I go to a bar to listen to a band, so the issue that all are complaining about (that alcohol & CC don't mix), doesn't apply to me.

Pro_Counsel 6 years, 12 months ago

Douglas_in_CT (Anonymous) says: "When a Concealed Carry permit holder enters an establishment that serves alcohol (e.g. a Bar), the owner/manager of that establishment knows that this person:1) has not committed a felony"It would be more accurate to say "has not been 'caught and CONVICTED' of a felony" (assuming, as staff04 said, that they would have made it to the database).

Flap Doodle 6 years, 12 months ago

"People lose their minds every day, even people who have never had a violent incident before."As in: "A man armed with a knife has killed seven people and injured 10 others in central Tokyo, Japanese media say.The incident occurred in the Akihabara district, a busy shopping area known as Electric Town that is popular with young people and tourists.A suspect, said to be 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato, has been arrested.Police spokesman Jiro Akaogi told reporters: "The suspect said he came to Akihabara to kill people. He said he was tired of life".The dead include six men, ranging in age from 19 to 74, and a 21-year-old woman, Kyodo News said.Reports say the suspect drove a rented truck into a crowd in the early afternoon and then began stabbing people at random. "http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7442327.stm

Flap Doodle 6 years, 12 months ago

"...accidents are very frequent..."How's about a citation of a Kansas CCW holder who accidentally shot a bystander?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 12 months ago

staff, be sure to check local regs before doing open carry in Kansas. Oh, wait, you don't want to do it. You only think other people should have to do open carry if they want to go armed. Hypogrif.

MandM 6 years, 12 months ago

The CCW background check also allows your local sheriff to give their input as to why a person should be denied a permit. They may not have a felony conviction. But they may be trouble and are known well by lawenforcement. If that is the case the sheriff can state his case to the Attorney General. The sheriff is the first one who receives the application from someone wanting a permit.

Pro_Counsel 6 years, 12 months ago

First, let me say I have no objection in general to concealed carry.I do think it is a bad idea to carry weapons in bars, or any other place where alcohol is served. And you only have to look at the inadequacy of drunk driving laws to see why. While it has been decided that a blood alcohol level of 0.08% makes one impaired to the point where it is illegal to drive a car (and to carry a gun), the effects on judgment and inhibition start before that level. That's why so many people drive drunk; long before they are too impaired to drive, their ability to decide if they SHOULD drive or if they should have another drink before doing so is impaired. And the same would apply to carrying a gun; do we really expect the CCW permit holder to know when he's reached 0.08 and go out and lock the gun in the car, or to make a good decision as to whether he should have another drink (or ten) while still wearing his gun? And while I will grant you that this has not been a problem yet, by definition, until the first time anything happens, it hasn't happened yet.As to the question as to whether CCW permit holders are the most law abiding citizens in the country, I would like to point out that being a criminal in no way keeps a person from getting a permit, only being an unsuccessful criminal (i.e. one who has been caught and convicted). Like any other group of human beings, there will be some good ones and some bad ones: Being a cleric does not automatically make you one of the most moral people, being a physician does not make you one of the healthiest, and being a college graduate certainly does not make you one of the smartest.

Ken61 6 years, 12 months ago

Do you think that the fact that no one has noticed the change in the law, except for CCW permit holders, might mean that this is really not a problem? Even though the law changed a year ago, it looks like there has not been a single incident of a CCW permit holder causing a problem in a bar.CCW permit holders are the most law abiding people in the country. They do not "shoot up" bars.Ken

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

Sen. Journey, while I realize that it is not your obligation to notify bar owners of the change, I hope you realize that the combination of the fact that many bar owners were unaware that the law has changed and the dismissive nature with which you answered leaves a reasonable amount of suspicion in my mind about your real intention, which is to allow CCW holders to carry at-will into a drinking establishment.Sorry, long sentence...

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

Ken, do you check the Attorney General's website regularly for changes in the law? I doubt that most people do, bar owners included. If a sufficient effort is not made (which, in this case, as evidenced by Sen. Journey's flippant comment, none was made), then I don't see how you can expect anyone to know or for anyone to be unsurprised when they learn of absurdity like this.FWIW, I don't know you from Adam, and no amount of saying "can anyone cite..." is going to make me or anyone else feel more comfortable about sharing public spaces with CCW holders who we neither know, nor know whether people are armed or not. People lose their minds every day, even people who have never had a violent incident before. But if you want to drink and carry firearms, then just please do it in your own back 40.

Crossfire 6 years, 12 months ago

A.T.F.The federal government seems to think think they go together...hence the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Monty Amick 6 years, 12 months ago

Ken61 - You are correct sir!misterlee - huh?

MandM 6 years, 12 months ago

Guns and alcohol don't mix. I don't drink. But there are times that I go into places that serve alcohol. But I go there to eat or for entertainment. Not necessarily what most people would call "bars". More of lounges or restaurants that serve drinks with their meals. I do feel that I should be able to carry there. But as far as "bars" go. I avoid them.My question would be for the "association" these bar owners belong to in Lawrence. Usually when you are part of an association it is so that you can stay on take part in special promotions, stay involved with community events and stay on top of changes in local, state and federal laws. I belong to a number of "associations" and professional groups. They all have someone in charge of reporting any changes in laws that may impact our members. Some even have lobbyists or at least someone in charge of watching legislation as it is being developed so we have an opportunity to provide input before a bill becomes law. What happened with this "association" in Lawrence?

MandM 6 years, 12 months ago

Staff you said, "You are right in some ways here, but the analogy is weak, as when you operate a motor vehicle in my presence, there is little chance that I won't know that you are operating a deadly machine and can take appropriate precautions. This is not the case with CCW in public places."Often times auto accidents happen because you DON"T see the other vehicle. Leaving little if any time to take appropriate precautions. That's why they are called "accidents". In my part of the state we know there are deer everywhere. And we see them. But there are still car/deer accidents and unfortunately many of them prove to be fatal. We can all pray that God is watching over us. But we all have a responsibility to do our part in taking our own precautions and protect ourselves to the best of our abilities.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 12 months ago

I suspect that some of the people who advocate open carry on this and other boards would probably have the vapors if they actually somebody legally doing it.

jonas 6 years, 12 months ago

"CCW permit holders are not (necessarily) the most law abiding people in the country"There, fixed it to fit with the original intent. If you're looking for citations, then ask whoever it was above who said that CCW permit holders Are the most law abiding people in the country to provide some for that.

antney 6 years, 12 months ago

Soon, hostests at restaurants will be be saying "concealed or non-concelead" and hopefully put all the paranoid frieks with guns in the back of the restaurant (or outside with all the smokers)

notajayhawk 6 years, 12 months ago

I also have no problem with CCW. However, in response to those who are arguing that it hasn't been a problem, I'd like to point out that the figures being thrown around actually do more harm to the argument for carrying in a bar than anything.A poster mentioned above that only 14,000 permits have been issued statewide, and many of those don't even carry all the time. I would also think it reasonable to assume that with none of the bar owners being aware of the change in the law, many permit holders might have been equally unaware, and haven't been carrying their guns in bars under the assumption that it was still illegal to do so. So it's entirely possible that the lack of shooting incidents in bars involving permit holders is a reflection of the fact that there haven't been many permit holders carrying their weapons in bars (compared to, say, the number ofpeople who drive their cars to one), not to any particular trait or characterisitic of permit holders.

Constitutionalist 6 years, 12 months ago

Staff,Why should your comfort in public spaces supecede my comfort in public spaces? I am not a fearful person but, I am aware of the fact that there is evil and violence in our society. We are responsible for our security financially, medically, emotionally; that is why we work, save, go to the doctor and carefully choose our friends. The fact that I have a CCW permit is simply my acknowledgement of the realization that I am responsible for my own well being: from the pespective of personal security. These are the resposibilities that accompany the rights of our free society. Lastly what difference does it make to you whether someone is armed or not; would you be more likely to act mean, rude or violent to someone who you know is not armed?, I thought not.

Constitutionalist 6 years, 12 months ago

Staff""Because my comfort isn't known to cause people to be dead?""I too, understand your position I simply and respectfully disagree: being defenseless can get you killed.""Lastly what difference does it make to you whether someone is armed or not?"I would know where to take cover. I prefer to know where the bullets might be coming from if an incident occurs.""Then do you support open carry, that is; citizens carring their firearms in open display as in the case of uniformed police?""I am responsible for my own well being"As I am I. You, on the other hand are not responsible for my safety and well being. When you carry a weapon into a public place with me, you begin to take responsibility for my well being. If you wanted that role, perhaps you should pursue law enforcement.""I am sure that I am in no way more responsible for your safety in public because I am armed than I am on the highway operating a motor vehicle. As for law enforcement the police are not responsible for your personal safety either; police are charged with the general public's safety not any one individual's safety. Though, I am a proud former Marine I have no interest in law enforcement, just my self preservation. Further, the current legal environment would make me very hesitant to protect anyone but myself or my family.Cheers

kens 6 years, 12 months ago

i sometimes go into bars and as a legal cch, i carry my handgun most of the time. i don't drink at all but i go with my friends. i think everyone is blowing this way out of proportion. to date, there are less than 14,000 permit holders statewide (plus a few more legal visitors from other states) and many of them don't even actively carry. in your particular area, you have very little to worry about as far as running across the permit holder who isn't a law abiding citizen. in fact, these are the people that you DO want to run into....at the bar. not the drunks or criminals who start fights, break the law, drink and drive, etc. really, it's a non-issue. the ks cch law has been in effect since jan '06 and afaik, no ks resident has had to legally fire his weapon in self-defense, only an ok resident had to use his weapon once, so very few "incidents". only 17 permits have been suspended/revoked by the state. the details are on the ks ag website if you need to know the reasons. bar owners would be better suited to worry about other more important matters (because this one is so trivial) and NOT post their bars because it gains them nothing. for a year nobody even knew about the slight change in the law and still, nothing bad happened. and it's not going to either. for the record, those of us with permits abide by the law first and foremost and our safety and the well-being of others come in at a close second. if for even a second i were to believe my judgment impaired for whatever reason, i wouldn't be handling my weapon. nobody is perfect but i think 99.9% safe comes to mind.

Devon Kissinger 6 years, 12 months ago

"Gun ownership is not a requirement for abiding by the laws."Maybe not, however, abiding by the laws is a requirement for gun ownership.When I go to a bar, I go to drink. When I drink I am unarmed, period, bullets & booze dont mix. Bar owners should keep themselves abreast of the law as well as any other business owner does. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If they want to post their business, thats fine, it'll keep the legally carrying folks out or unarmed, criminals wont care about the sign.

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

"When a Concealed Carry permit holder enters an establishment that serves alcohol (e.g. a Bar), the owner/manager of that establishment knows that this person:1) has not committed a felony, and 2) has had his background checked by local and state police agencies, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation."Consider the following: 25% of convicted felons are not in the NICS system. 90% of those adjudicated by a court as inelegible to own firearms for mental health reasons are also not in the system. If the largest database we have has flaws like this, how do you expect a bar owner/manager to have any faith in the KS CCW system when the state itself refuses (or is simply too incompetent) to turn over those records to NICS?

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

snap... Open carry is already legal in most states and to my knowledge there haven't been significant efforts to make it illegal. I think that hurts your hypothesis.

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

"Then do you support open carry?"Yes, and I am consistently on record on these forums as such."I am sure that I am in no way more responsible for your safety in public because I am armed than I am on the highway operating a motor vehicle."You are right in some ways here, but the analogy is weak, as when you operate a motor vehicle in my presence, there is little chance that I won't know that you are operating a deadly machine and can take appropriate precautions. This is not the case with CCW in public places."Further, the current legal environment would make me very hesitant to protect anyone but myself or my family."True, but bullets do not discriminate or know who you are trying to protect. They also bounce, fully penetrate multiple targets, and shatter, often causing much more damage than expected. Either way, it is your right in the state of Kansas to carry a concealed weapon. While in my heart I would like to see greater restrictions on gun ownership, I realize that in the current pro-gun environment in Washington and in many state legislatures, that isn't likely.Anyway, cheers to you as well...just hopefully not while you are carrying!

Daniel Kennamore 6 years, 12 months ago

"Aahh, the joys of liberal thinking, reasoning and sign posting - NOT!"You have to love how in a state where the legislature is overwhelmingly controlled by conservatives, people still point the finger at 'liberals' for laws that get passed.

Constitutionalist 6 years, 12 months ago

StaffThank you for your pleasant demeanor while discussing this topic. This is the first that I have read this forum so I am not aware of your support for open carry. In my jurisdiction open carry is legal but, because firearms make some good people uncomfortable I conciously choose concealed carry.I think the automobile analogy is strong and valid in the context of "my responsibility for your safety"."Bullets do not discriminate or know who you are trying to protect."True, but humans do; situationally the firing of a sidearm is the last resort to preserve my, or a loved ones, life."They also bounce, fully penetrate multiple targets, and shatter, often causing much more damage than expected."A discussion of terminal ballistics is probably beyond this forum. Suffice to say a "bounced" bullet has lost a significant amount of kinetic energy and being deformed has lost the ability to continue in ballistic flight. Good defensive ammunition is designed to ensure that it does not overpenetrate. Lastly on this subject bullets can never do more damage than expected: defensive bullets are designed to stop an attacker. It is an interesting paradigm that you see the current state of affairs as pro gun whereas my paradigm sees a very antigun society.Try this as an exercise, try to view CCW permitees as good guys going about there business while doing their best to be prepared for a potentially dreadful situationRegards

repaste 6 years, 12 months ago

Whats your point guys - guns anywhere anytime anyone? Liberal my a** a lotta people( some of who own guns) are unsettled sitting next to the guy with a gun - people kill people, guns make it a hell of a lot easier, accidents are very frequent . Even the rough and tough wild west did not allow guns in most bars - most towns either! We don't need the macho man every where. Enough is enough.

Douglas_in_CT 6 years, 12 months ago

Consider the following:When a Concealed Carry permit holder enters an establishment that serves alcohol (e.g. a Bar), the owner/manager of that establishment knows that this person:1) has not committed a felony, and 2) has had his background checked by local and state police agencies, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.Consequently, the bar owner/manager KNOWS this person is NOT A CRIMINAL.Question:How much does he know about the rest of his customers?

Jim Phillips 6 years, 12 months ago

The first rule of gun safety is that guns and booze do not mix. That is taught in Hunter Safety classes and in Concealed Carry classes. It's a recipe for disaster and one that will destroy concealed carry in Kansas.

staff04 6 years, 12 months ago

C-Because my comfort isn't known to cause people to be dead?I understand what you are saying, and I'm not saying that my comfort should supercede yours. I'm saying that the fact that "nothing has happened yet" doesn't make people any more comfortable with CCW permit holders carrying in certain places, bars being one of them."Lastly what difference does it make to you whether someone is armed or not?"I would know where to take cover. I prefer to know where the bullets might be coming from if an incident occurs."I am responsible for my own well being"As I am I. You, on the other hand are not responsible for my safety and well being. When you carry a weapon into a public place with me, you begin to take responsibility for my well being. If you wanted that role, perhaps you should pursue law enforcement.

kens 6 years, 12 months ago

also i'd like to add that any business owner who does not post his/her business as off limits to cch can still ask a person with a firearm to leave the premises. the permit holder, as a law abiding citizen, will leave. if the owners doesn't want a person with firearms in their business, just ask them to leave. there won't be a lot of fanfare and arguing and refusing and questions and "my rights" and other problems; the person will just leave because trespassing laws apply. when i go into a bar with a firearm, nobody knows, not even the employees. it won't be necessary to seat me in a special section or treat me any differently because as far as everyone is concerned, i am not any different. and your day goes on....uneventful. really, it's not a big deal. i think some people are confusing us with the criminals or the unlicensed folks who push their agenda on others who have a point to prove or is otherwise unconcerned with what others think.

Ken61 6 years, 12 months ago

OK. let's see, in the year since this became law can anyone cite an incident where a CCW permit holder used his firearm in an inappropriate way in a bar ? The headline is "Bar owners surprised by change in concealed carry law." No one noticed.Not even the Lawrence Police Department! How can that be? Ken

bondmen 6 years, 12 months ago

Signs posted with a black Beretta (or some other handgun silhouette) and a red circle with red diagonal line have an intended effect on the law abiding gun owner/carrier but an unintended effect on the illegal gun owner/stealer/carrier such that the final result is the bad guys are armed and the good guys are unarmed!Aahh, the joys of liberal thinking, reasoning and sign posting - NOT!

Bill Lee 6 years, 12 months ago

Ken,Most nights no one shoots up a bar, but when it does happen, a gun is involved. CCW permit holders are not the most law abiding people in the country...some of them are, but so are many of us who will never own a gun. Gun ownership is not a requirement for abiding by the laws.

Philjourney 6 years, 12 months ago

Well let me make sure I have this correct there are 2 legislative hearings, 2 votes in each house, the governor's veto, dozens of newspaper articals and broadcast interviews, publication in the statute book and the Kansas Licenses Beverage Association is asleep at the switch and that is my fault?

Murphy_White 6 years, 12 months ago

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