May 05, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
The Kansas legislature on Monday voted to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a measure that will now make it possible for more adults—including those aged 18 to 20—to carry a firearm for self-defense in the Sunflower State.
The Kansas legislature had overwhelmingly passed HR 2058, a measure greatly expanding the right of self-defense, but Kelly, a Democrat, abruptly vetoed the bill late last week, seemingly ending hope for the measure. On Monday, after only five minutes of debate supporters had garnered the 84 votes they needed for the override. The override also passed the Senate by a vote of 31-8.
Among other things, the legislation will allow all people licensed to carry a firearm in other states to carry one in Kansas, allow 18- to 20-year-olds to apply for a concealed carry permit and authorized the state attorney general to issue an alternative license to carry a concealed handgun to qualified applicants during a declared state of disaster emergency.
Three Republican representatives who originally voted against the measure supported the veto override effort. Another, who was absent from the first vote for health reasons, gave supporters the exact margin they needed to override the veto.
“The governor in her message indicated that she has always supported the Second Amendment,” said Abilene Rep. John Barker, who carried the bill on the House floor. “Well, I find that hard to believe sometimes, because we already have 18-year-olds that can carry a gun (openly) in the state of Kansas. This requires them, if they’re going to carry a concealed weapon, to get training and to get a permit and to have a background investigation.
“I think that’s a positive move. Any time people can get training, that’s a good thing.”
As we reported last week, in her veto message Kelly did say she had always been a supporter of the Second Amendment. However, she followed that statement by saying, “But we can respect and defend the rights of Kansas gun owners while also taking effective steps to keep our children and families safe. Legislation that allows more guns on campus is neither safe nor effective, and it will drive prospective students away from our schools.”
Kelly’s statement was questioned even by many in the education groups who don’t support carry on school property. As the Kansas Association of School Boards pointed out, the measure wouldn’t have changed current laws that allow high schools to prohibit guns on school grounds. So, in fact, it would not have “allowed more guns on campus” as the governor insinuated.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.