Nearly 3,000 seek concealed gun permits

Lawrence police don't expect increase in crime

Kansas enters the new year with nearly 3,000 people cleared for carrying concealed handguns.

And more applications are coming into the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

“Actually, it’s picked up a little bit in the last two weeks of December,” said Chuck Sexson, the office’s director of concealed services. He said last week that he expected about 5,000 applications would have been received by the start of 2007.

The state had mailed 2,981 license approval notices to concealed carry applicants as of Wednesday, Sexson said. The next step is for applicants to take their notices to a Kansas driver’s license office and have their concealed carry licenses made.

After years of debate and defeat in the Kansas Legislature, a concealed carry law was finally passed by legislators last year. It went into effect Monday.

Lawrence police don’t expect to see the city revert to its Wild West roots. Police Sgt. Dan Ward noted that people getting concealed carry licenses have to go through a special training class and pass background checks.

“In order to qualify for that license you have to be a law-abiding citizen,” Ward said. “It’s not the law-abiding citizens that present problems to the officers, it’s the criminals, and those individuals will still carry guns with or without a license.”

There are more than 360 state-certified concealed carry gun instructors, including seven in Douglas County. A list of instructors, as well as other detailed information about the law, can be found at the attorney general’s Web site, Applications can be obtained from sheriff’s offices.

The number of concealed carry license approvals issued for Douglas County was unavailable, but there have been 142 applicants, Sexson said.

The state has not yet rejected any applicants, Sexson said. He said there are less than 50 applications under legal and administrative review. If they are rejected, the applicant will be notified, informed of the reason and given an opportunity to appeal.

Among the main reasons for denial are having a criminal record and a history of mental illness, according to the state law.

Most of the applications under review are for errors, Sexson said.

“I think folks that apply for concealed carry licenses, if in fact they do have a disqualifier, are opting not to follow through with the applications if they know they will be denied,” he said. “We’re finding that most move through the process without too many hitches.”

The law lists certain buildings and locations where weapons cannot be carried even with a concealed carry license. Included are bars and restaurants where more than 50 percent of the business is in alcohol or liquor sales, churches, courthouses and sporting events.

Owners of businesses and buildings also have the option of posting signs that prohibit carrying concealed weapons. The sign has to meet state design requirements. The sign can be downloaded and printed from the attorney general’s Web site. The sign has a picture of a pistol with a red slash through it.

Some businesses late last week were still debating whether to put up the sign.

“We’ve just started discussing it here, and I’m not sure what we are going to do,” said Chuck Magerl, owner of Free State Brewing Co., 636 Mass. “I can see very compelling reasons to have it posted and very compelling reasons not to.”

Dana Hawke, manager of Perkins Restaurant, 1711 W. 23rd St., also said no decision had been made as of late last week.


Thinking of obtaining a concealed carry permit? Here’s what you need first:

¢ A 2-by-2-inch photo showing the applicant’s face from the chin to the top of the head. The photo must have been taken within 30 days.

¢ A certificate from an approved firearms instruction course.

¢ A completed Kansas application for concealed handgun license.

¢ New applicants must pay $110 to the Office of Attorney General and $40 to the Sheriff of Douglas County. To renew, you must pay $50 to each.

¢ A fingerprint card. Fingerprints will be taken by a sheriff’s officer when the application packet is submitted.