The Kansas House took one step forward but several steps back, earlier this month, on gun reform.
On Feb. 2, legislators voted to lower the age to carry a concealed firearm from 21 to 18. Local legislators Kent Thompson, LaHarpe Republican, voted for the measure, while Adam Lusker, Democrat from Frontenac, voted against it.
The measure now is on track to come before the Senate where it’s pretty much a slam-dunk, considering its more conservative makeup. Gov. Jeff Colyer, as well, will be eager to sign the legislation.
On Monday, our new governor said he also would be in favor of school districts awarding teachers pay bonuses if they underwent training equipping them to be armed in the classroom.
The only saving grace to the recent House bill is the requirement that those 18 to 21 must pass safety training and criminal background checks, predictably prompting National Rifle Association enthusiasts to issue an “all hands on deck” alert to drum up opposition before the Senate takes up its vote.
The trite argument goes if you’re old enough to serve in the Armed Forces you’re old enough to responsibly carry a loaded weapon.
While a majority of lawmakers, 69-53, and again, Thompson and Lusker on the opposite side of the aisle, rejected an appeal to return college and university campuses to gun-free zones, they did say those packing heat on campuses must carry a gun permit.
House members also blocked a request to ban “bump stocks,” a device that converts semi-automatic weapons into automatic fire status, such as used last fall in Las Vegas when 57 were killed at an outdoor concert.
House members also voted to deny gun ownership to those who have been convicted of domestic violence, those subject to protection from abuse orders, fugitives, and undocumented immigrants.
A majority of legislators also voted to recognize concealed carry permits from other states.
AFTER the Las Vegas massacre, conservative talk-show host Bill O’Reilly said those 57 killed were “the price of freedom,” in regards to protecting a very skewed interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Two weeks ago another 17 were “sacrificed.”
To what advantage is giving 18-year-olds the right to carry loaded weapons? None other than to burnish our A-plus ranking bestowed by the NRA — the holy grail of a majority of our legislators.
— Susan Lynn