TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has approved a bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
The vote Wednesday was 85-39. The bill passed by a healthy margin even though some members have misgivings that the state would no longer require training to carry concealed.
The Senate passed the measure last month, but the House made a technical change in committee that senators have to review.
The measure is expected to go eventually to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The National Rifle Association says Kansas would become the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders.
The House also voted 100-24 to pass a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing special fees and taxes on guns or gun sales.
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A proposal to allow Kansas residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit advanced Wednesday in the state House, despite some members' misgivings because the state would no longer require training.
House members gave first-round approval to the concealed carry bill, and a final vote could occur late Wednesday. The Senate passed the measure last month, but the House made a technical change in committee that senators would have to review.
Both chambers of the Republican-dominated Legislature have strong gun-rights majorities, so the measure is expected to go to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The National Rifle Association says Kansas would become the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit everywhere within its borders.
The House also gave first-round approval Wednesday to a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing special fees and taxes on guns or gun sales, following up on a law last year aimed at nullifying local restrictions.
"Carrying a gun is a lifestyle," said Republican Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, of Palco. "The government should trust its citizens."
All states allow some form of concealed carry, but the NRA says only Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow it everywhere in the state without a permit, though Montana allows it without a permit outside of cities, which is most of the state.
Kansas enacted its law in 2006 and about 87,000 people 21 and older hold valid permits. A person seeking a permit must pay $132.50 in fees and undergo eight hours of firearms training.
State law has long allowed people to carry firearms openly without requiring training, and backers of the bill said gun owners have shown they are responsible with their firearms.
"Kansans already have two documents granting them the right to concealed carry — the Constitution of the United States and the Kansas Constitution," Couture-Lovelady said. "That should be all they need."
Even if the bill is enacted, the state would continue to issue permits so that its residents could carry concealed in other states recognizing the Kansas permit.
But even some gun-rights supporters said they were nervous about no longer requiring training for everyone who wants to carry concealed. House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City Democrat, said that in continually lessening restrictions in Kansas lawmakers are "getting caught up in extremism."
And Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, said: "I have concerns with the type of culture that we're creating, when guns are in more places, particularly among children."