Fewer Kansans are seeking concealed carry permits.
In the past year, Kansas received the lowest number (about 5,100) new applications for concealed carry permits since licensing began in 2006.
And it’s not because fewer want to carry loaded firearms in the state, but because they no longer need a permit to do so.
A dumb law passed in 2015 in a Statehouse controlled by NRA-friendly, extreme-right lawmakers stripped away needed requirements for a permit and safety training course.
More than 83,000 Kansans have permits — in part because they’re needed in other states that rightly demand licensing — but a sure-to-increase number carrying loaded firearms in Kansas will not due to ultraconservative lawmakers’ boneheaded move.
They ignored safety, and the need for everyone with a gun to grasp the possible consequences of discharging it in public, whether intentionally or by accident.
More guns in any setting increase the odds of accidents and other bad outcomes, which the best-trained professionals understand. Even with military and law enforcement personnel with disciplined and frequent safety training, accidental discharges occur.
Kansas’ previously required eight-hour training course was brief, but better than nothing.
A state that now allows people armed with loaded firearms in more public places should demand at least that much training. No requirement whatsoever makes zero sense.
The recklessness began in 2013 in Kansas when ultraconservatives approved concealed carry in all public buildings — hospitals and college campuses included. They were exempt until July 1 of this year, and most Kansans polled wanted to keep guns out of those places. The lack of mandatory concealed carry training was one reason why.
The more moderate, commonsense Legislature now in place did pass a bill to keep firearms out of hospitals, which became law without Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature.
But lawmakers failed to with colleges, even though there was no compelling case for guns on campus. The tired claim of no-gun zones somehow encouraging mass shootings has been debunked by multiple studies.
Moving forward, if legislators still cannot muster up votes needed to end concealed carry on college campuses, they at least should push for mandatory training.
Truly responsible gun owners would be the first to agree.
— The Garden City Telegram