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Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Opinion: Former district attorney comments on concealed-carry law

July 10, 2013

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The recent law passed by the Kansas Legislature allows holders of concealed carry licenses to carry weapons into governmental buildings including meetings of various commissions open to the public. The July 6 Journal-World article notes that over 400 entities have filed for exemption from the new law. In support of the new law, you quote Sen. Forrest Knox from Altoona. Knox is quoted as saying that “the average Kansan gets it.” I presume by this statement, Knox means that the average Kansan supports the new law.

Well, Mr. Knox, as an “average Kansan,” here is what I “get.”

The basic premise of your new law is that anyone who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon is, simultaneously, endowed with intelligence, forbearance, common sense and even temper and, thereby, would use that concealed weapon in a way that reflected those attributes. That is a false premise. I was a prosecutor for over 20 years, Mr. Knox, and I can assure you that I was privy to numerous violent crimes perpetrated by people who, at least on the surface, could not conceivably be capable of such crimes. All it takes is a pressure cooker of emotional events to trigger an explosion of violence, including the use of whatever weapon is handy, such as a gun. It does not take much imagination to foresee a real tragedy in a crowded commission chamber.  In any event, a concealed-carry license does not insure civilized behavior.

In addition to having the dubious distinction of lacking even a modicum of common sense, Mr. Knox, this new law you have championed is in the form of an unfunded mandate. This means that any governmental entity that wishes to be exempt, and there are, by last count, over 400 of them, must pony up money to cover the cost of a security system. In the city of Lawrence, the estimate is at least $200,000.

In summary, it is difficult to remember a more thoughtless, ill-conceived and potentially dangerous piece of legislation than this one — although, in this last legislative session, it had plenty of competition.

Finally, as an average Kansan, I deeply resent the imposition of this new law on my community, particularly because it is so ill-conceived. I would suggest that if you want to indulge in delusional legislative experiments, please confine them to your home town of Altoona. I am certain there is a corral handy.

I “get it,” Mr. Knox, and, somehow, I don’t think I’m the only one.

Comments

kawrivercrow 9 months ago

"I was a prosecutor for over 20 years, Mr. Knox, and I can assure you that I was privy to numerous violent crimes perpetrated by people who, at least on the surface, could not conceivably be capable of such crimes."

Numerous times over 20 years? Just how many is 'numerous'? Is it as many people as have been struck by meteors since the beginning of recorded time? Assuming the population average of KS was 2.5 million people, then over 20 years he is talking 500 million people-years. That's a cumulative half-billion yearly chances that a seemingly normal person could commit an unexpected violent crime of the nature he is referring to. Yet, all he has to show for it is 'numerous' times a crime was committed by someone he did not know was capable of it.

Given the paucity of real crime committed by real CCW-holders, I think he should trade in his tin-foil hat for a lead helmet. After all, I see a falling star in the sky every so often and statistically, I can not deny that there is a chance on could land on his head.

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jayhawklawrence 9 months, 1 week ago

It is a solemn responsibility of all Americans to protect liberty and to understand enough about the history of our country to realize that our liberty is always being threatened. It is logical to believe that when we lose our freedom it will not be because of invasion by a foreign power. It will come from our own citizens not fulfilling their responsibility to monitor and control the power of our own government.

When we look at the last 25 years and list all the ways our freedoms are being threatened within our own country, we cannot but consider that we have become the "frogs in the pan".

Why is this happening?

In my view, too much reliance on political parties to define our belief system is one of the major failings of the American people.

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kansasredlegs 9 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Wells: is this the kind of "criminal" you would have prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law? Doubtful, if you wanted a 2nd term even here in anti-gun Lawrence.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-05-20/local/39386923_1_dog-case-boy-d-c-office

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Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Thanks Jerry Wells for taking the time.

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coebam 9 months, 1 week ago

The privilege of being anti-gun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdkiLC06Nso

I could not have said it better myself.

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jafs 9 months, 1 week ago

I'd really like for someone who proclaims that cc permit holders are "law abiding citizens" to comment on the post about how many people who now get those permits carried before they were legal.

By definition, somebody who carried a gun before they were legally allowed to do so would be a "criminal".

So now, we have lots of people with cc permits who are criminals.

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jayhawklawrence 9 months, 1 week ago

I am just glad I live in a state where Democrats cannot take my gun away from me.

If we are going to have a system of background checks that would be alright with me but it never stops there. It never has.

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hedshrinker 9 months, 1 week ago

 FYI, Jerry Wells was a Republican (may still be, he's a private citizen now) when he held the DA position....what I remember is that he  was a big supporter of the Victim-Witness support program thru the DA's office, which assists victims of violent crime navigate their way thru the legal system; their staff are vigilant advocates for survivors of domestic violence/rape/incest, sitting with them in the courtroom so they can confront their attackers and get  protection from abuse orders, sit through trials that put perpetrators in prison, etc.
  Unfortunately for all of us, the political party system has transformed so much in the last 20 years that previous party labels are unrecognizable;  the litmus tests of ideological purity, along with frequently untraceable infusion of millions of dollars, almost ensure gridlock..
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Jason Johnson 9 months, 1 week ago

People snap, I get that. Good, bad, people have a breaking point, whatever that is. The fact of the matter is, if someone is going to snap, they're going to ignore any gun buster signs. Face it, many of us carried even when it wasn't legal, for our protection.

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kernal 9 months, 1 week ago

Well said, Mr. Wells. Thank you!

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jayhawklawrence 9 months, 1 week ago

I am just wondering what people like Jerry get out of following the loyal liberal party line because it looks like these people are brainwashed.

They want us to invest millions of dollars for protection from legal American citizens but they are currently not so worried about the thousands of criminals who are packing guns and commiting crimes.

And we wonder how the economy got so screwed up?

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Carol Bowen 9 months, 1 week ago

I don't recall a groundswell of interest in changing Kansas gun laws. Why did we need all these new gun laws? Did we have a problem? No one campaigned on this issue. There was no lobbying in the news. I suspect these laws are not necessary and devisive.

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boiled 9 months, 1 week ago

Some good comments from above. Again, this former joker of a DA is the problem, not the CCH laws. He needs to go be a DA in Chitown and see how that endowed with intelligence, forbearance, common sense and even temper thing is working out......for I'm positively sure the shooters were all trained, legal CCH holders endowed with intelligence, forbearance, common sense and even temper (heavy sarcasm) .

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wolfmn1958 9 months, 1 week ago

I see the jw took my second comment off. That's ok,there not to good with the truth as it is. I bet this comment will disappear also. Just saying.

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wolfmn1958 9 months, 1 week ago

Chicago is a gun free zone. This means that a criminal can come into your home,steal from you an shoot you dead. Now in Lawrence ks,there is a sign on my front door that reads,"This door is locked for your protection,not ours". You kick in my door,there will be a 116 lb dog waiting for you. Plus myself,wife an son who goes to the firing range at least twice a week. Now,you might ask yourself,"What are these people scared of?" NOT A DAMN THING,that's what

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Jean1183 9 months, 1 week ago

" All it takes is a pressure cooker of emotional events to trigger an explosion of violence, including the use of whatever weapon is handy, such as a gun." " In any event, a concealed-carry license does not insure civilized behavior."

Mr. Wells, please tell me how a "no gun sign" insures that ANYONE (CCL holder or not) will not leave the meeting, go get a gun and return?

"No gun signs" are the most ridiculous things ever conceived. Who do you think they prevent from carrying guns in? Seems to me the logical answer is: sane, civilized, law abiding citizens.

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Jean1183 9 months, 1 week ago

It's NOT okay to drink and carry. You must not know the law.

It is 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.

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speedy47 9 months, 1 week ago

I must not be an average Kansan because I don't get it. It's illegal to drink and drive but it's okay to drink and carry. Looks disastrous to me. And FYI I'm not from Lawrence and I'm a real Republican.

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Pheps 9 months, 1 week ago

"The basic premise of your new law is that anyone who is licensed to (carry a concealed weapon) is, simultaneously, endowed with intelligence, forbearance, common sense and even temper and, thereby, would use that (concealed weapon) in a way that reflected those attributes"

Insert: 'be a DA' at 1st parenthetical

Insert: 'position' 2nd parenthetical

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Karl_Hungus 9 months, 1 week ago

If the CC people are so responsible, then why not let them carry in the Capital?

You never had to remove your shoes at the airport until Richard Reed, will they undo this law after the first angry spouse starts shooting at a divorce/child custody hearing?

Bad, bad, bad....ever hear of road rage? "Nice" people can react poorly to anything but now throw a gun in the mix.....? On the plus side though, I will make sure to keep my nose even cleaner so I won't have to go to court and maybe get shot by an angry CC-er...

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beezee 9 months, 1 week ago

In the same issue, a law enforcement officer interviewed totally supported the law Wells brays about. So once again we are reminded of the fact that the County Attorney is an elected position, generally filled by someone of the area-correct political flavor.

Thanks, Jerry, for sucking up yet again to the local establishment. I'm a CCH instructor (have been since the program began) and not ONE of my numerous students who got their license has been involved in ANY illegal activity since. If anything, said license has made them even MORE conscientious and situation-patient than before.

And by the way, I am CONFIDENT that the assorted Topeka and WY-County gang bangers are VERY deterred from carrying by the pretty, new signs adorning doorways. You know-- the ones that proclaim "Victim-rich Free-fire Zone Within."

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boiled 9 months, 1 week ago

Wells is a second amendment opponent then I take it? He is or was from Lawrence I assume (or Douglas County somewhere)?

He in my humble opinion should never have been allowed to hold the DA job. This is the problem in America---too many people in power who have an ideological axe to grind.

What about the 70 some-odd shootings and 12 shooting deaths in Chicago over July 4th weekend? Are those shooters " endowed with intelligence, forbearance, common sense and even temper"? Oh I forget, probably not one of the shooters held a CCH.

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fmrl 9 months, 1 week ago

Righteous indignation. Let me assure you that the vast majority of Kansans do not believe the same way that people in la la Lawrence land do.

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kansas_cynic 9 months, 1 week ago

Too bad we have so many legislators and a governor who lack the plain common sense Mr Wells possesses.

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wolfmn1958 9 months, 1 week ago

I myself have a CCL. It's for protection only. It's called common sence to where your weapon should be carry. I don't think Mr. Knox has much common sence. I get it like Mr. Wells does. Keep your weapons in your viehicle when you go to a meeting. There's no need for one. If you get upset at a meeting,use common sence,which it seems to me that Mr. Knox has none

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