Kansas House passes two gun bills, one on ‘reciprocity,’ the other barring ownership in certain situations

The Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

? The Kansas House gave final passage to two gun-related bills on Friday, sending them to the state Senate for consideration.

The most controversial of those was a so-called “reciprocity” bill that would enable people with out-of-state licenses to carry concealed firearms to do so legally in Kansas, while Kansans with valid permits could do the same in those states.

In 2015, Kansas lawmakers repealed a law that required permits or training of any kind as a condition for carrying concealed weapons. But many other states still require permits, and they will only recognize permits from other states if the person’s home state has a reciprocity law recognizing theirs.

Kansas law enforcement agencies still offer permits for people who want them, but they are not required under state law. Supporters of the bill said it was necessary so Kansans who want to carry concealed firearms could do so legally when they travel to other states that only recognize nonresident permits from states that have reciprocity laws.

During debate Thursday, however, that bill became a vehicle for a host of amendments on other topics dealing with Kansas’ concealed carry laws.

Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, tried unsuccessfully to add an amendment that would repeal a law that took effect last year requiring public colleges and universities to allow concealed carry in all campus facilities, unless the school provides adequate security in each building, such as metal detectors and security guards, to prevent anyone from bringing a weapon inside.

But Rep. Brenda Landwehr was successful in pushing through an amendment to lower the minimum age for carrying concealed weapons to 18, instead of 21 under current law, as long as people younger than 21 undergo gun safety training first.

And Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, pushed through an amendment to require anyone who wants to carry concealed firearms on a college or university campus to first undergo gun safety training, regardless of age. That would apply to students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The bill passed on final action, 76-44. Ballard, along with Democrats Boog Highberger and Eileen Horn of Lawrence voted against it. Republicans Tom Sloan of Lawrence and Jim Karleskint of Tonganoxie voted in favor.

The second bill was requested by Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office. It would codify into state law four conditions currently in federal law making it illegal for certain people to possess firearms.

Those include people who have been convicted of domestic violence within the previous five years, people currently subject to protection-from-abuse orders, people who are undocumented or not lawfully present in the United States, and fugitives from justice.

Schmidt’s office said those people have long been subject to prosecution under federal law, but federal prosecutors rarely take those cases unless they are part of a larger case that involves additional, more serious charges.

By enacting them into state law, supporters said, local prosecutors and law enforcement will be able to prosecute those crimes in state court.

That bill passed unanimously, 122-0.