Kansas to become sixth constitutional carry state

Kansas is now the sixth state to allow constitutional carry. (Photo Illustration by George Walker | The Collegian)

Effective July 1, Kansas law will allow residents 21 years of age or older to carry concealed firearms without a permit or gun safety training.

The bill was signed into law on April 2 by Gov. Sam Brownback, who afterwards said the new law will protect the rights of gun owners given that responsible gun ownership is a right inherent in our Constitution, according to the Time article “New Kansas Law Will Allow Concealed Carry Without Gun Permit or Training.”

Brownback also said that carrying a gun is a constitutional right and they’re removing a barrier to that right, according the Time article “New Kansas Law Will Allow Concealed Carry Without Gun Permit or Training.”

After Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona and Arkansas, the new law makes Kansas the sixth state to allow constitutional carry. Vermont is the only state that had always had the law since the formation of the 13 original states.

The Time article quoted a statement Brownback made after he had signed the bill, where he urges Kansans to still take gun safety training courses. He shared that his youngest son had just recently completed one and benefited greatly from it.

John Maike, owner of Flint Hills Gun Works gun shop in Manhattan, said that constitutional carry is a move in the right direction for Kansas.

“In my opinion, the new law will give everyone easier access to guns for their protection and will make criminals now think twice before sticking someone up for their wallet or purse since they don’t know who’s carrying,” Maike said. “I think the only places that are actually going to get held up now are going to be those with the no guns signs, because criminals will know that in there they won’t be facing resistance.”

Despite this, Maike said people should still take gun safety courses.

“I can see gun sales going up and crime rates going down after this law goes into effect.” Maike said. “But as helpful as it is, I still think people should consider gun safety training; many folks will buy a firearm without even the basic training and that could be disastrous. I see a lady come in here to buy her first gun and as she’s inspecting it the first thing she does is look down the barrel. That’s why training is important, so people know better than to accidentally hurt themselves in similar ways.”

Maike said he thinks the bill will have some monetary benefits as well.

“I think it will make everyone’s lives a little bit easier financially too; some people can’t afford to, and shouldn’t have to, spend around $200 on the paperwork for a four-year permit,” Maike said. “Now that you don’t have to spend all that, more people will be able to purchase guns. As for us, it’s definitely a good thing that gun sales are going up and our business will get to grow even more.”

Rick Andrus, gunsmith at Flint Hills Gun Works, said that in conjunction with constitutional carry going in effect in Kansas, other states should also start reconsidering their laws and guidelines regarding firearms.

“When it comes to constitutional carry, it’s true more people will be able to purchase guns, but if you were denied before July 1 you’ll still be denied after,” Andrus said. “The same background checks will be conducted and the only difference is that we no longer will need to make the FBI-NICS phone call before a sale is made. Nobody will be able to purchase a gun if they have a criminal record.”

Colin Johnson, Topeka resident and equal rights advocate, said amendments regarding gun policy are needed, but there should be more restrictions on carrying guns.

“I’m not saying that we shouldn’t let people have guns, but I think we definitely need more limitations on the freedom to carry rather than give more possibly unqualified and untrained people lethal weapons,” Johnson said. “I certainly don’t see how taking away training can be of any positive impact. It only makes sense that a gun is more dangerous in the hands of someone short of training than someone who has gone through eight hours of a weapons safety and training course.”

Johnson said that more guns doesn’t equal more safety.

“The more isn’t the merrier when it comes to guns; it’s just an argument that the (National Rifle Association) and gun rights lobbyists use to make more money,” Johnson said. “No permits equals higher gun sales, and that, in turn, equals higher profits for those in the firearms industry. I think since this is going through anyways we should at least have more thorough background checks, and not the least bit less. I just know that constitutional carry isn’t worth the risk of guns getting in the wrong hands; other than that we just wait and see what happens.”