Any of you who get legislative updates from the NRA or the Kansas Rifle
Association (KSRA) have read by now about a new proposed constitutional
amendment here in Kansas, that, if passed will allow concealed weapons to be
carried with no permit. The way the proposal stands now, nothing at all will be
required; no class, no background check and no permit.
Now I’m a gun guy. I hunt deer, turkeys, geese and coyotes and trap as well, so I
have guns for all occasions. I don’t have a concealed carry permit, but I believe
strongly in the privilege. Yes, I said privilege; I believe it’s my 2nd Amendment
right to own guns and to defend myself and my family with one, but I believe it’s
more of a privilege to carry one concealed on my person wherever I go.
Like I said, I’m a gun guy and I believe strongly in being able to carry a concealed
weapon, but I have a problem with this proposed amendment for a couple
reasons. My first issue is with dropping the requirement to take any kind of class
or training before carrying concealed. When I was a kid, I took a coworker
pheasant hunting one day. I didn’t know this guy very well but figured “What
could go wrong?” The guy carried an automatic twelve gauge, and I soon found
that whenever a pheasant or quail erupted near us, he would turn in the general
direction, fire two rounds, then aim! I soon wished I had found out beforehand
how INCOMPETANT he was with a gun. The training class currently required to
carry concealed teaches way more than just how to shoot. They spend a goodly
amount of time on the escalating use of deadly force and on the many things one
must consider before discharging a firearm to protect yourself and your family.
The second problem I have with the proposed amendment is with dropping the
required background check. In 2014, 20,660 concealed carry permits were issued
in Kansas. Also, because of criminal history and felony convictions revealed by
background checks, 82 permits were denied, and because of criminal charges
brought against concealed carry permit holders, 12 permit renewals were denied,
87 permits were suspended and 52 permits were revoked. These statistics are all
public record available on the Kansas attorney generals website. Each time there
is a mass shooting somewhere in our country we all get on our soapboxes, and
rightly so about keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not possess
them. In my opinion, requiring no background checks to carry a concealed
weapon would be a step backwards in that regard.
I spoke with a member of our local law enforcement who said the proposal makes
him a little nervous. He told me it’s already a challenge when stopping someone
carrying a concealed weapon WITH a permit, let alone stopping someone with no
permit available and having to rely solely on the person telling them the truth as
to whether they have a concealed weapon.
Like I said, I believe strongly in being able to carry a concealed weapon, and it
gives me some comfort when I’m out and about in our insane world today
knowing there are people around me who may be able to intervene should I find
myself in a possible life-or-death situation. But, like my experience taking my
coworker hunting, I also want to feel comfort in the fact that those people
carrying a concealed weapon are in all ways competent to possess one.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]