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Kansas bill to recognize other states’ gun permits advances

February 10, 2021 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A House committee has advanced a bill to expand Kansas’ recognition of other states’ concealed carry permits.

The bill is backed by Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who said in a hearing last month that the bill would help the state maintain reciprocity agreements with other states so that Kansans can carry concealed firearms elsewhere.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted 14-5 to advance the bill to the full House for a vote.

Schmidt said that when Kansas lawmakers passed a law in 2015 allowing residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit, they removed a provision that required the attorney general to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other jurisdictions. Schmidt said states had since raised concerns with his office about the lack of reciprocity language in Kansas’ law.

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“There are at least some people in other states who could lawfully, temporarily carry in Kansas before, who cannot now,” Schmidt said. “And I don’t think it’s a large number of people overall, but it’s real.”

The bill is drawing pushback from Democrats and gun control groups. Some of them worry the bill would allow people from states with looser gun laws to carry concealed weapons in Kansas, including states that allow people convicted of certain stalking crimes and some violent offenders to carry a concealed weapon.

Danielle Twemlow, a Topeka volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a gun control group, told The Associated Press that she is worried about the bill allowing teenagers, some convicted stalkers and those who lack adequate gun safety training to carry a concealed firearm in Kansas.

“This is dangerous and it only puts Kansas at risk,” Twemlow said.

The committee rejected efforts by Democrats to weaken the concealed carry law. Rep. Jo Ella Hoye, of Lenexa, offered an amendment to repeal permitless concealed carry, and Rep. Boog Highberger of Lawrence offered an amendment that would have banned concealed carry in the Statehouse. Both failed.

As amended by the committee Wednesday, the bill would allow the attorney general to issue concealed carry permits “if at any time it becomes impractical” for the state Department of Revenue to issue permits and the attorney general decides problems have persisted over 30 days.

Wichita Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter pressed for the change, saying that some Kansans were unable to get permits when revenue department offices closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Some proponents of the bill are pushing for another bill to lower the age for concealed carry of firearms in Kansas from 21 to 18, but committee members took no action on that Wednesday.

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Andy Tsubasa Field is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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On Twitter, follow Andy Tsubasa Field at https://twitter.com/AndyTsubasaF