|
|
Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • State Senate advances uniform gun law

  • Senate moves forward with uniform gun laws

    By Kyle Crane

    KU Statehouse Wire Service



    TOPEKA— The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would establish a statewide, uniform set of laws regarding the use of firearms.
    • email print
  • Senate moves forward with uniform gun laws
    By Kyle Crane
    KU Statehouse Wire Service
     
    TOPEKA— The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would establish a statewide, uniform set of laws regarding the use of firearms.
     
    Senate Bill 447 would prohibit municipalities from establishing their own gun ordinances and limit restrictions for laws concerning concealed-carry license holders.
     
    Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, told the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee last week that variance in laws from place to place throughout the state is confusing to citizens. He said a uniform set of laws would help individuals avoid being accused of weapons crimes in unfamiliar jurisdictions.
     
    “Citizens have an individual right for self-defense and have a desire and need to understand the laws that relate to these rights,” Howell testified. “Uniform laws allow citizens to confidently exercise their constitutional right.”
     
    Provisions in the bill would prohibit municipal employers from requiring employees to disclose their status as a concealed-carry license holder, and prohibit counties from enacting local laws for the carrying of firearms and knives.
     
    Melissa Wangemann, the director of legislative services with Kansas Association of Counties, said municipal employers would like to know which employees have guns in the workplace.
     
    “County employers would appreciate some ability to regulate employee behavior to ensure a safe work environment,” Wangemann said.
     
    Other significant provisions in the bill prohibit the possession of firearms by an individual under the influence of alcohol or drugs and prohibit carrying guns into buildings with proper signage posted. Additionally, the Attorney General would be required to deny the concealed carry application to a person with a conviction for criminal possession of a weapon, which includes knives.
     
    Eric Smith, a legal counselor with the League of Kansas Municipalities, said the LKM appreciates those provisions, but opposed the sections that restrict employer rights.
     
    “It erodes local control on issues that have been controlled by cities for over 150 years,” Smith said. “Our members believe they should have the ability as employers to make personnel decisions involving workplace safety.”
     
    Ed Klumpp, a retired chief of police with the Topeka Police Department, testified in support of the bill on behalf of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Kansas Sheriffs Association and the Kansas Peace Officer Association. He said the bill would be helpful to law enforcement, but voiced concern about restricting municipal employers’ right to know whether an employee is carrying a firearm.
    Page 2 of 2 -  
    “Employers have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to assure a safe work environment,” Klumpp said. “Workplace violence still is a major public safety issue.”
     
    The passage of the bill came a week after a similar bill, House Bill 2473, stalled in the House. The bill will be sent to the House for consideration.
     
    Kyle Crane is a senior journalism student at the University of Kansas from Overland Park.
     
      • calendar