April 23, 2021
Today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed House Bill 2058, changes to concealed carry permits in Kansas.
This bill does two things.
First, it establishes concealed carry license reciprocity with other states under which the holder of permit from outside Kansas could carry a concealed firearm in Kansas providing a Kansas license holder can carry in that state.
Secondly, it creates a new concealed carry permit for individuals from 18 to 21 years of age. Currently, one must be 21 years old to be eligible for a concealed carry permit.
KNEA does not have a position on the issue of permit reciprocity but, under current circumstances, we strongly oppose the creation of a permit for those under the age of 21. If this permit is allowed to stand, virtually everyone on post-secondary education campuses in Kansas would be permitted to carry a concealed firearm on campus. As gun laws were changed several years ago, the legislature put severe limits on the ability of post-secondary education institutions to regulate firearms on campus. If a college wished to restrict the carrying of firearms on campus, they would be required to place security at all campus entrances. The cost of metal detectors and security personnel would simply be too prohibitive.
We noted also that the state restricts access to alcohol to individuals under age 21 and was considering bills to prohibit the purchase of tobacco products and the use of cell phones in cars by those under 21 years of age. These laws are in place or under consideration because the legislature has determined that those under 21 are more likely to make unwise choices with alcohol, tobacco, or cell phone usage while driving. Yet HB 2058 assumes that these same individuals will make wise choices with firearms.
This time in a young person’s life is challenging. They are navigating interpersonal and romantic relationships; they are worried about the impact of a failing grade on graduation prospects, scholarship eligibility, or even their relationship with their parents. They are under enormous stress with little life experience to manage that stress.
We believe that our post-secondary education institutions need to be places of safety and for these reasons we oppose HB 2058 and urge the legislature to sustain Governor Kelly’s veto.
In our testimony before the legislature, we asked that either the 18- to 20-year-old permit be stricken or that the boards of trustees of post-secondary education institutions be given the authority to regulate the carrying of firearms on their campuses without cost-prohibitive requirements.