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.