Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lawmakers allow concealed carry in Statehouse

June 19, 2014, 2:49 p.m. Updated June 19, 2014, 8:29 p.m.


— Legislative leaders on Thursday tacitly agreed to allow people with permits to carry concealed handguns into the Statehouse.

The Legislative Coordinating Council — a group of Republican and Democratic leaders from both chambers — met Thursday and, by not taking action to prohibit concealed weapons in the building, according to a law passed in 2013, the group effectively agreed to allow them.

"Those who carry concealed, they feel like that's an enhanced measure for the safety of everyone, and we agree with that," said Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita. "There will be no one in the Capitol who doesn't have a license to carry. A license to carry requires a background check and education."

During the 2013 session, lawmakers passed a bill that requires most government buildings, except public schools, to allow people with licenses to carry concealed weapons, unless the governing body determines the building has adequate security to prevent anyone, licensed or not, from bringing in a weapon.

The final version of the bill passed both chambers with strong bipartisan support: 32-7 in the Senate and 104-16 in the House. Both Democratic leaders in the Legislature, Rep. Paul Davis of Lawrence and Sen. Anthony Hensley of Topeka, voted in favor of it.

The law gives state colleges and universities a four-year exemption before they have to decide on a policy, allowing them time to develop security plans for their campuses. Cities and counties were also given the option of applying for four-year exemptions while they develop new security plans.

Both Douglas County and the city of Lawrence have taken advantage of that provision, but many others have simply decided to allow concealed carry in their public buildings.

The bill also allowed an exemption for the state capitol until July 1, 2014, unless the Legislative Coordinating Council determined that the building had adequate security to prevent anyone from bringing weapons into the building.

Capt. Jimmie Atkinson, commander of the Kansas Capitol Police, told the legislative panel that security in the Statehouse has been greatly enhanced in recent months. That has involved hiring additional officers, updating security protocols to prevent unauthorized people from entering the building except through the security checkpoint at the public entrance and changing parking regulations on the Statehouse grounds.

Responding to questions from reporters about why visitors would feel a need to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol, Wagle said it didn't matter because they have a right to do so.

"Why should we allow it in one public facility and not another," she asked.

Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick said he didn't think allowing some people to carry concealed weapons in the Statehouse should make other visitors uncomfortable.

Merrick and Wagle at LCC

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, and Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, answer reporters' questions following a Legislative Coordinating Council meeting on Thursday, June 19, 2014. The LCC had just given its tacit approval to allowing people with concealed-carry permits to carry weapons in the Statehouse.

"I'm uncomfortable with people being here for other reasons," he said. "There are a lot of red shirts around here."

Kansas National Education Association members wore red T-shirts and crowded the halls of the Statehouse during the final days of the 2014 session, demonstrating against a bill that passed, stripping them of tenure rights.

Thursday evening, however, Merrick's spokeswoman Rachel Witten called the Journal-World to say that Merrick's comments were not about the teachers' union members but that the comment was a "term of art" that referred to the British during the Revolutionary War.

"I think it can be boiled down to the fact that we should have our ability to protect ourselves," Whitten said.

The new policy on guns in the Statehouse takes effect July 1.


Frank McGuinness 3 years, 10 months ago

"I'm uncomfortable with people being here for other reasons," he said. "There are a lot of red shirts around here."

Great way to equate an educator to a weapon.

Greg Cooper 3 years, 10 months ago

I.E., there are a lot of people around the statehouse that have a lot more education than me and have the sense to recognize a red herring when they see it.

James Howlette 3 years, 10 months ago

Boy, I don't see anything that could possibly go wrong with this plan...

Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't believe I have ever heard of the British being referred to as "red shirts". Makes me think Mr. Merrick said something stupid and had full knowledge he was jabbing at the KNEA members then had has staffer backtrack the comment. I think that makes Ray Merrick and untrustworthy liar.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

First of all I wonder if Mr. Merrick went to Catholic school or another Christian school where they practiced corporal punishment. Why is he so afraid of teachers? They aren't the ones shooting up schools. Of course, they are the educated ones who will lead the way to getting rid of jerks like him, but with an election, not with a gun.

Second, concealed carry training education, Ms. Wagle, is a joke. You sit around and learn all about the laws. Then you have to shoot a target from a distance that even those of us who can't hit the broad side of a barn can't miss. There is some training about gun safety, but no real practical education, such as cleaning guns, taking them apart, telling one gun from another, etc. The instructor I talked to, said he always encourages a student to go to a shooting range for more hands-on instruction, if he thinks they have never really used a gun, but they aren't required to do that.

Third, I think they better have concealed carry in the state house. In fact, if we are going to be subjected to mean looking guys openly carrying their "manly" big guns on their backs, like in Texas, then open carry should be allowed in the state house too. Why should they feel safer than us?

David Reber 3 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps all teachers should simultaneously apply for CC permits...just to watch Merrick's head explode. Then, see how fast the legislative whackadoodles tweak the law to exclude teachers from any & all rights to carry weapons.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

We need to send this to KNEA. What a great idea.

Sam Crow 3 years, 10 months ago

Reber, that is a silly statement. You are better than that.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Reber, in the name of civil discourse let us cease to use such terms as "wackadoodles" and enlarge our vocabulary so as to use synonyms which are not quite so pejorative and slangy.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 10 months ago

Let's all have our pictures taken in front on the John Brown mural. Will our legislatures now be spending their time saying to each other, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours." Is the next step to move the capital to Dodge City?

Bob Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

The number of people afflicted with hoplophobia in Lawrence is larger than I would have thought.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

There is more basis for having hoplophobia, than Peck's stupid pedagoguephobia. And the use of the above word might make you a member of the Westboro Church, they seem to be obsessed with that particular sort of thing, calling it by it's more common name. Several times when I've had the displeasure of having to walk past them one of them kept asking people if they knew about that particular turn on, once asking a little girl of about 7. Do you hang out with these guys?

Bob Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

"..And the use of the above word might make you a member of the Westboro Church…" And that is yet another wrong tree you are barking up.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

Hey, just saying that the only people I have ever heard talk about this kind of kinky stuff is you and a Westboro church member. Just saying.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

Bob, I had never heard of this word before so I had to look it up. I believe that Dorothy is confusing hoplophobia with hebephilia which is the sexual preference for young teens.

Hoplophobia, n. Irrational, morbid fear of guns (c. 1966, coined by Col. Jeff Cooper, from the Greek hoplites, weapon; see his book Principles of Personal Defense). May cause sweating, faintness, discomfort, rapid pulse, nausea, sleeplessness, nondescript fears, more, at mere thought of guns. Presence of working firearms may cause panic attack. Hoplophobe, hoplophobic.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

My post was in reference to a post that he made earlier with a term that had nothing to do with guns. It appears to have been deleted, so my posts do not make any sense.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

Is there not a rule on these threads that anonymous posts are not allowed? Why is it you choose not to own your rhetoric? Are you a coward? Do you fear that when the world knows what kind of liberal you truly are, those that call you friend will cease to do so? Do you enjoy slinking in the shadows of lies and deceit, anonymously spouting your inane vitriol?

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 10 months ago

So, based on your post, anyone who disagrees with you must be "some kind of a liberal"? Obviously Journal World feels he met their criteria. So what is your problem? You don't like what he said?

Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 10 months ago

Virgil Peck suggested the shooting of people from helicopters. Now Merrick suggest shooting people with an opposite view. These right wing narrow minded imbeciles we call legislators appear to be a suggestive group. I suggest they quit their jobs in Topeka and go cut wood.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 10 months ago

Probably wouldn't know which end of axe to use.

Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

Anyone remember that 1893 photo of an armed Kansas statehouse and cannons on the statehouse grounds because the GOP was afraid of the Populists during the William Jennings Bryan era? the Kansas GOP is still paranoid and unsettled 121 years later. Go figure.

Bob Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

"…paranoid and unsettled …" Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot.

Grégoire Guillaume 3 years, 10 months ago

It's interesting to see how this country has regressed since the "Regan Revolution". There is no longer any kind of community spirit that transcends the stupidity of those that feel they need to wield power over the rest of us. I suspect most politicians suffer from a inferiority complex and have over compensated in an attempt to feel good about themselves. Yes, it's pop psychology but that doesn't mean it's not factual. Anyway, if you stand back and look at the present condition of Kansas and the rest of the country you see that the corporations have taken over every aspect of our lives. They buy federal and state legislatures, school boards, judges and bombard us with the corporate messaging that most people take for news. It's really pretty pathetic. What do you think our chances of winning any football games are this year?

3 years, 10 months ago

You are of the majority opinion Gregoire...and we have become dangerous. Amazing isn't it??

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

Frankly, I am just as tired of hearing and reading liberals automatically berating conservatives as I am the opposite. I hate to write this but MSNBC is becoming a bore when all every show does is repeat the same things about Republicans. It is beginning to sound as if they believe that the Republicans are all knowing and all powerful and any attempt to defeat them will be futile.

Come on, people, we have wonderful resources such as the Internet and the library to get information, we just have to take time to vet the source of that information but that has always been true.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

I do think that there should be more civil discourse, but if you read the story above you will see that it's the Republicans who started the uncivil discourse. To imply that a bunch of teachers threatens you is pretty cowardly. And the only other thing that I disagree with is with Ms. Wagle who says that concealed carry has adequate training. I think the training is lacking. It's better than no training at all, but that's the only thing good about it. Who passed these laws that are going to have more people carrying guns? Republicans. And I believe we have the right to disagree with them.

Bob Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

"…To imply that a bunch of teachers threatens you is pretty cowardly…" And there goes civil discourse right out the window. Thanks for playing, better luck next time.

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