Kansas lawmakers lower conceal carry age to 18, overturning veto

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Eighteen-year-olds in Kansas will soon be able to carry a concealed weapon, and some are concerned this will lead to more guns on college campuses across the state.

Lawmakers Monday overturned Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto after just five minutes of discussion.
Supporters said they did this to close a loophole. Right now, 18-year-olds can legally carry a gun out in the open, but if they hide it in their coat, they’re breaking the law.

But opponents like Moms Demand Action argue teen brains aren’t fully developed and fear lowering the conceal carry age will lead to more violence amongst younger kids. They believe many parents will send their kids to colleges in other states due to fears their kid could get shot with more students able to carry guns on Kansas college campuses.

Before they can conceal carry, 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds will be required to go through a background check, get training and get a license. Only those 21 and older can conceal carry at college right now, under a 2013 law that was put into practice four years afterward.

The percentage of college students allowed to carry is small at the moment. But with the age being lowered, the majority of college students will now be eligible to conceal carry on campus.

Kelly said while she supports gun rights, she felt compelled to veto the law because “legislation that allows more guns on campus is neither safe nor effective, and it will drive prospective students away from our schools.”

Not everyone agrees with her.

“The governor and her message indicated she has always supported the second amendment. Well, I find that hard to believe sometimes,” Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, said.

The law will go into effect July 1. As for high schools, they can still ban guns inside buildings, but 18-year-olds will be allowed to conceal carry on certain school grounds and at accredited non-public schools.

It doesn’t go into any more detail then that, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly what they means as school districts clarify to parents their gun policy in regards to this new law.

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