Archive for Monday, July 26, 2010

Eroding law

Changes in the state’s concealed carry law make it easier to get a license and harder to be prosecuted for mixing guns and alcohol.

July 26, 2010

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Even the president of the Kansas State Rifle Association acknowledged to a Journal-World reporter last week that guns and alcohol generally are a bad combination. It just seems like common sense that the state shouldn’t make it harder to enforce laws against someone carrying a concealed firearm while under the influence of alcohol.

Nonetheless, changes enacted by the Kansas Legislature this year, have done just that.

Lawmakers eliminated several factors from the law that could disqualify someone from receiving a concealed carry license in the first place. Before this year’s action, someone could be denied a permit if he or she had two misdemeanor DUI or drug convictions in five years or had been convicted of carrying a gun while under the influence in another state during the same time period. Now, those and a number of other factors no longer can disqualify someone from receiving a concealed carry license.

A more significant step, however, seems to be new restrictions placed on enforcing laws against carrying a concealed gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Now, a law enforcement officer can compel someone carrying a concealed weapon to submit to a breath test only after that person has shot someone. If no shooting has occurred, a person can refuse a breath test without penalty.

It seems the equivalent of letting drivers avoid breath tests and possible prosecution for driving while intoxicated until they have an accident and perhaps kill someone else in the process.

The new law goes on to say that people with concealed carry permits can be found in violation of the law only if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol “to such a degree as to render such licensee incapable of safely operating a handgun.” Since they can’t force breath tests, are law enforcement officers supposed to take suspects to a firing range to test their shooting skills?

As Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, pointed out in Friday’s story, changes in the state’s concealed carry law are slowly eroding provisions in the law that were placed there for a reason. Some Kansans support that trend, but those who were uneasy about the original concealed carry law have even more reason to be concerned now.

Comments

grammaddy 5 years, 1 month ago

"Common sense" just isn't all that common any more.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

On the surface, the arguments appear to make sense. They are carefully framed in that way.

But after watching the political mudslinging in our country for the last few years, I feel it is very unwise to trust any politician who takes a stand in public on a key issue in their platform, in this case the Democratic platform.

There is a sense in the country that anything the politicians touch right now will turn bad. I just don't trust them right now to write any more laws or to dream up anymore schemes.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 1 month ago

This has been kicked around for about a week now. No where have I seen how many cases were made for carrying while intoxicated. Granted, guns and booze do not mix, but show us where there has been a problem. Otherwise, this is nothing more than creating an issue where none existed.

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

If it's not an issue, then there's no need to weaken the law.

Let law enforcement enforce the law, and if people aren't carrying guns around while they're drunk, no harm/foul.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 1 month ago

"jafs (anonymous) replies… If it's not an issue, then there's no need to weaken the law."

Other than the rewrite is more in line with the Bill of Rights.

And quite obviously, had there been an issue, the law would have remained the same if not made more strict.

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

You're assuming that our state legislators are rational and intelligent.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually, no. What I am banking on is that our side knows what kind of battle it was to get this law passed over our former illustrious governor's veto and that they know it will take little to have concealed carry repealed.

It amazes me that the anti-gunners are more afraid of someone who has passed a written and a practical test, as well as a criminal background check to get their concealed carry licenses than they are of convicted criminals who roam the streets victimizing whomever looks to them like an easy mark. Well, I'm not really amazed nor surprised.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 1 month ago

"It seems the equivalent of letting drivers avoid breath tests and possible prosecution for driving while intoxicated until they have an accident and perhaps kill someone else in the process."

Really?

It seems to me to be closer to being able to force a car owner to take a breath test simply because he or she owns a car and has a license. To do so would presume the intent to drive.

The crime is drinking and driving, not drinking and having an accident. That's a poorly thought out argument.

BorderRuffian 5 years, 1 month ago

Captain - you make a good point and distinction. While it is pretty probable that a person with a car and a license (particularly when they are IN the driver's seat of said vehicle) is about to go out and drive the car, it is by no means probable or predictable that the person (legally) carrying a firearm is doing so with the intent on going out and using it.

Similarly, when a driver is pulled over by the noble police officers and given a sobriety test (usually after witnessing a loss of control and caution during said driving), there is typically good reason to predict that halting the driver from further impaired driving will be beneficial to the public. On the other hand, how many times has anyone seen a police officer go up to a participant in a raging gun battle and ask her or him to stop and submit to a sobriety test?

While prudence suggests that it is a very poor decision to remain carrying a firearm while in a state of inebriation, the first decision is seldom in a solid relationship with the second. Personally, I'd be curious to investigate a set of statistics correlating inebriation and the illegal use of firearms. For instance, how many "shootings were carried out by legally licensed firearms carriers in a state of intoxication compared to shootings that were carried out by non-intoxicated legally licensed firearms carriers - shootings that were "non-righteous"? Is this actually a problem, or is it a little bit of hysteria ginned up by gun-haters to inflame the huddled masses from complacency to moral outrage and indignation?

Richard Payton 5 years, 1 month ago

Now my drunk cousin can come over from Missouri and shot his gun. Nothing has changed much from the days of Ballad of Blackjack.

beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

Do they allow sober people to bring their guns to the Statehouse?

overthemoon 5 years, 1 month ago

When did they start letting sober people into the Statehouse??

Jim Phillips 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually, no. The Statehouse is one of those prohibited areas.

RobertMarble 5 years, 1 month ago

The 'objectivity' is demonstrated in the opening line:
"Even the president of the Kansas State Rifle Association acknowledged to a Journal-World reporter last week that guns and alcohol generally are a bad combination"

"Even" the state NRA President eh?

Actually, the NRA are among the strongest proponents of firearms safety in the nation. It's a cornerstone principle of the organization- which has provided firearms marksmanship and safety training since 1871. But that's not quite the image conveyed by the opening line is it? Obviously the author won't let facts overshadow their opinion......

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