Topeka — There has been an increase in the number of gun shops that have a license to sell automatic weapons. But the shop owners say residents should not expect to see more heavy weapons on the street.
The new law took effect in July to allow the sale of more types of weapons, including those typically used by the military or law enforcement. The law brought Kansas in line with surrounding states.
Since then, 13 more gun shops have acquired a license, going from 32 to 45, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Nebraska has 17 licensees, Iowa has 21 and Missouri has 91.
The change was prompted by a December 2007 attorney general's opinion that said the previous state law didn't allow for the sale of certain automatic weapons.
Jerry Aday, owners of Holsters and More in Topeka, watched the law work its way through the Legislature and filed his application and $500 fee shortly after the law went into effect. He plans to use his permit to buy automatic weapons from outside Kansas and transfer them to law enforcement agencies, some of whom had trouble getting the weapons while the old state law was in question.
But Aday said residents won't be lining up for more firepower. "There's no market for them," he said.
Cost is the big factor, he said. Aday said a cheap automatic weapon could run $6,000, while a cheap M16 rifle, a common military weapon, could cost $16,000.
Requirements for residents to own the weapons could be another factor. The process requires a background check, local law enforcement approval, fingerprints, photographs, a $200 fee, a dictionary-sized book of regulations to follow and restrictions on where you can take the gun.
"If you have one of these, you've opened your house to 24-hour-a-day inspection," Aday said.
As of Dec. 31, there are 2,166 licensed automatic guns, including those owned by law enforcement agencies.