A Thousand Voices: Kansas’ newest gun laws see opposition in latest survey

Lawrence voters who participated in a new Journal-World survey generally agreed when it came to Kansas’ newest gun laws: They don’t support them and think they will adversely affect public safety.

Three-fourths of the (approximately) 1,000 LJWorld.com readers who participated answered that they didn’t support a new state law allowing Kansans 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

Almost the same number answered that they didn’t think firearms should be allowed on campuses of the state’s public universities — an issue the Kansas Board of Regents is trying to deal with now — or at sporting events and other large, public gatherings.

About this article

A Thousand Voices is a feature that will measure how readers of LJWorld.com feel about a variety of issues being debated by the public. The Journal-World will regularly conduct a poll that captures a representative sample of the approximately 35,000 users of LJWorld.com. All polling will be conducted by our partner, Google Consumer Surveys. The Google system chooses participants for the poll at random. Some users of the website have this poll presented to them when they attempt to access a story on our website, and others don’t. The polling process collects a minimum of 1,000 responses. Google calculates results using margins of error and 95 percent confidence levels common to the polling industry.

If you have a topic you would like to see as part of a future poll, please suggest it to Nikki Wentling at nwentling@ljworld.com

Here’s a look at the results:

• When asked about the new law allowing Kansans 21 and older to carry concealed firearms regardless of whether they have a permit, an even 75 percent of respondents said they didn’t support it, and 13.8 percent said they did. The rest, 11.2 percent, answered they were not sure. The results had a margin of error of 1.7 to 2.7.

• Next, we asked people how they thought the new law affects public safety. Of the 1,066 responses to this question, 61.6 percent said it would negatively affect public safety; 10.1 percent said it would positively affect public safety; 8.7 percent said it would have no effect; and 19.5 percent said they weren’t sure. The margin of error was 1.5 to 3.

• “No” was a clear winner — with 74.7 percent of votes — when we asked whether firearms should be allowed at the state’s public universities. Another 14.2 percent said yes, they should be allowed, and 11.1 percent answered that they were not sure. The results had a margin of error of 1.8 to 2.7.

• When asked whether concealed firearms should be allowed at sporting events and other large, public gatherings, 75.7 percent said they should not; 11.9 percent said they should be allowed; and 12.4 percent answered “not sure.” The margin of error was 1.8 to 2.7 percent.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in April what some advocates have called “constitutional carry.” It’s been reported that Brownback and other supporters have said the law aligns the state with the constitutional right to bear arms.

Though it’s dubbed the “Personal and Family Protection Act,” some state lawmakers — and, it turns out, 61.6 percent of polled LJWorld readers — have cited concerns about the law’s effect on public safety.

The law has been in effect only four months. It looks as if some of our respondents (about 20 percent) aren’t sure yet about its aftermath and are waiting to see whether — and how — safety is affected.

Something public higher education officials are facing now is the state’s law that any public building lacking security measures, such as metal detectors or guards, must allow concealed guns.

The law became effective in 2013, but universities got a four-year exemption that expires July 1, 2017.

We’ve reported that a Kansas Board of Regents committee has begun preparing by drafting proposed amendments to its weapons policy.

At a Kansas University Senate meeting Thursday, faculty, staff and students spoke against the law and talked about fighting it.

A student senator said the concealed carry law is not mitigating fears of a violent incident occurring on campus, but KU’s student body president said there are students who thought it would enable them to protect themselves.

Allowing concealed firearms at sporting events or other large gatherings, where there are currently only light screening processes, has also been a source of concern of higher ed officials, as it seems to be with most polled LJWorld readers.