CCW Article in the Wichita Eagle


PDA






Geech
February 16, 2004, 12:27 PM
http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/7963048.htm

Posted on Mon, Feb. 16, 2004

Sebelius still fires 'no' at gun bill

The governor remains opposed to a concealed-weapon measure coming up for legislative debate.

BY STEVE PAINTER

Eagle Topeka bureau


TOPEKA - Rep. Candy Ruff says she never thought much about letting everyday citizens carry concealed weapons before she heard a rape victim's story during a 1997 legislative hearing.

Not long after that, she received calls from two women in her Leavenworth district who had been raped. Both had bought guns and carry them, legal or not.

"They all say the same thing. They're not going through that again," said Ruff, co-sponsor of a bill to let citizens with clean records obtain licenses to carry concealed guns.

As lawmakers begin debating the issue again this week one thing remains unchanged: The governor opposes the effort.

Former Gov. Bill Graves, a Republican, vetoed a 1999 bill to allow concealed weapons.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, reaffirmed last week that allowing retired law enforcement officers to carry guns is as far as she's willing to go.

Asked Friday if she'd changed her mind, she said simply, "No."

Ruff, a Democrat, and Rep. Gary Hayzlett, a Lakin Republican, are the chief co-sponsors of the bill, dubbed the "Personal and Family Protection Act."

Among the other co-signers are seven Wichita lawmakers from both parties and one each from Valley Center, Augusta, El Dorado, Mulvane and Wellington.

Hearings on the proposal begin Wednesday in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Bill Mason, R-El Dorado.

Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin are the last four states that have no legal means for citizens to carry concealed weapons. Nine others have what gun-rights advocates consider highly restrictive laws.

The rest of the states issue permits.

A Park City gun shop owner said the proposed law is long overdue.

"I think it would sure stop a lot of rapes, burglaries, thefts, because they're not going to know whether you've got a gun or not," said Que Smith, owner of Que's Gun Emporium.

He said he might see a slight uptick in sales of small guns if the law passes, but he thinks many who feel they need to carry a gun for safety are already doing so.

In past years, the city of Wichita has always opposed any bill that would pre-empt local ordinances.

A bill that doesn't trump city ordinances would be useless, said Sen. Phil Journey, a Haysville lawyer and longtime gun rights' advocate.

"There'd be no way to tell where you were violating the law and where you weren't," he said.

This year, the Wichita City Council did not include anything about the gun law in its legislative priorities and probably won't, Mayor Carlos Mayans said.

"Frankly, we have not discussed that situation," said Mayans, who voted in favor of concealed gun permits each time it came up during his 10 years as a state representative.

Police Chief Norman Williams is not willing to let Wichita's local gun ordinances go. The city laws prohibit carrying a concealed gun, loaded or not, and prohibit carrying a loaded weapon even if it's in plain view.

More guns potentially mean more life-and-death decisions for police officers on the street, Williams said.

"I'd like to be able to arrest someone for carrying a loaded weapon on the street," he said. "I'd hate to put officers in a position where they have to make a life-threatening decision of who's the victim and who's the suspect."

Sedgwick County Sheriff Gary Steed shares the concern "that we'll just have more guns out there."

Training is another issue, he said -- not just on how to shoot but when to shoot.

The League of Kansas Municipalities also opposes local pre-emption. Most cities with a police department have an ordinance mirroring state law on carrying guns, said Don Moler, executive director.

Historically, law enforcement groups have split over the issue, with rank-and-file officers endorsing conceal-and-carry and management opposed.

Lawmakers are likely to hear from police officers on both sides.

The Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed the bill, while groups representing sheriffs, Highway Patrol troopers and police chiefs are not taking sides.

Eric Haskin, president of the Kansas State Troopers Association, said most troopers do not object to concealed guns.

"Criminal intent, to me, is a matter of will, not weapons," said Haskin, based in Greensburg.

"The people who are out to commit a crime, they don't care if there's a concealed-carry law or not," he said.

Haskin thinks many instances of criminal acts go unreported because they are thwarted by gun-carrying citizens.

And he recalled a 1990 incident near Belle Plaine in which a citizen held two men at gunpoint until troopers arrived. The two were being sought for shooting a trooper 14 hours earlier.

They later pleaded guilty. The trooper recovered.

_____________________________________________

Struck me as a pretty fair article, overall. Let's hope we can get that veto-proof majority!

If you enjoyed reading about "CCW Article in the Wichita Eagle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
ReadyontheRight
February 16, 2004, 12:36 PM
Former Gov. Bill Graves, a Republican, vetoed a 1999 bill to allow concealed weapons.

Political parties are not our friends.

Great article! The following quote sums up the whole issue:

"The people who are out to commit a crime, they don't care if there's a concealed-carry law or not," he said.

If you enjoyed reading about "CCW Article in the Wichita Eagle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!