The Buzz

Kansas Senate panel hears arguments on bill lifting concealed-carry restrictions

By BRAD COOPER

The Kansas City Star

Gun-rights supporters on Thursday urged lawmakers to lift restrictions for Kansans who carry concealed firearms.

The National Rifle Association, National Association for Gun Rights and Kansas State Rifle Association lined up behind a bill erasing permit requirements to carry concealed guns in Kansas.

“There really is not a reason you need to get the government’s permission to protect yourself or your family,” said Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Nickerson Republican and the bill’s primary sponsor.

Bruce gave his testimony to a Senate commitee, which held a hearing on the bill Thursday morning. The measure has 26 sponsors in the Senate, more than what’s needed for passage in that chamber.

Since 2007, Kansas has allowed people to carry a concealed weapon if they pay $132.50 for a permit and undergo eight hours of handgun training. Those requirements would be eliminated under the bill.

Supporters say the bill puts concealed carry on equal footing with open carry, which does not require any type of permit.

Opponents of the measure included the city of Overland Park. Mayor Carl Gerlach submitted written testimony noting that the current concealed-carry law — supported by the city — requires gun safety training.

“Today, in Kansas, we require testing and a license (to) operate an automobile because we believe that every operator must obtain a basic level of safety,” Gerlach wrote. “The same should be true to carry and fire a weapon.”

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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