Topeka Gov. Mark Parkinson on Tuesday said he doesn’t like a new law that expands the ability for Kansans to get a permit to carry a concealed gun.
But, Parkinson said, he made a political calculation when he signed it into law.
Parkinson said he feared that if he vetoed it, the Legislature might have tried to override several of his other vetoes.
“I’m just being very honest about it,” he said.
Parkinson said the legislation passed by overwhelming margins, which indicated enough support to muster a two-thirds vote to overturn a veto.
The measure passed 37-2 in the Senate and 103-15 in the House. To override a veto requires 27 votes in the Senate and 84 votes in the House.
During the last legislative session, lawmakers removed several of the reasons the Kansas Attorney General’s Office could deny a concealed-carry permit to an applicant. Essentially, the new law allows anyone who qualifies to possess a gun under federal and state laws to also receive a license to carry it concealed.
As a result, it no longer is permissible to deny a license to a person who has been:
• Convicted of two DUIs during the last five years
• Convicted of carrying under the influence in another state during the last five years
• Documented to have attempted suicide during the last five years
In addition, the new law removed a provision that required concealed-carry license holders to submit to a breath test if a law enforcement officer suspected they were carrying a weapon under the influence. If they refused, they lost their license. Now, license holders must consent to a test only if they’ve shot someone.
The new law, which took effect July 1, has come under criticism from gun control advocates and several legislators who say that perhaps some legislators weren’t aware of the bill’s contents.