Gov. Kelly vetoes bill to lower legal age for carrying a concealed weapon

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks to reporters, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, during a Statehouse news conference in Topeka.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill Friday that would have lowered the legal age for carrying concealed weapons.

The legal age is 21, but the majority-Republican Legislature wants to allow permits once people turn 18.

Kelly, a Democrat, described herself as a “longtime supporter of Second Amendment rights.”

“But there are times when it goes too far,” she said shortly before her office announced the veto.

When she was in the state Senate, Kelly voted against allowing concealed guns at the state’s public universities.

“Putting guns on our campuses, in our dorm rooms,” she said Friday, “it just seems like a really bad idea.”

Proponents of lowering the age for concealed carry point out that 18-year-olds can serve in the military.

Kelly countered that she checked regulations for firearms on military installations in Kansas and found restrictions against keeping guns in living quarters.

“The idea that we just willy-nilly give guns to 18-year-olds is not true,” the governor said.

“The other thing is that (people in the military) go through hundreds of hours of training in using firearms,” she said, whereas the average person doesn’t. “So I think to compare those two things is not appropriate.”

The bill passed the Legislature this month with majorities in both chambers, but not enough votes in the House to override the governor’s veto.

Proponents in the House will need to win over four more lawmakers to achieve that when they get the chance to review vetoes next month.

• Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports on consumer health for the Kansas News Service. Reporter Stephen Koranda contributed to this story.


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