Assistant attorney general C.W. Klebe told House and Senate committees on Wednesday that the office expects to process 3,000 concealed carry permits by the end of January and is bringing in extra help to meet a 90-day deadline to process the applications. He said the office is on pace to process up to 20,000 applications in 2013, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/YpxREb ).
Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe, said he believed Kansas residents are responding to proposed changes in federal gun laws.
"I just think with what's going on at the federal level, people are scared (President Barack) Obama is going to pass gun control," said Olson, who doesn't support increased gun regulations.
The Obama administration is seeking a renewed ban on assault weapons, restrictions on the sale of magazines that hold 20 or 30 rounds or more and tightened background checks.
Klebe said 62,000 applications have been processed since the state's concealed-carry program began in 2007. In the first year of the program, the office received only about 6,000 applications.
Also on Wednesday, Klebe discussed a Senate bill that includes changes to the state's firearm regulations. In written testimony, Klebe said his office "worked hand-in-hand with representatives of the National Rifle Association in 2012 in order to put forth recommendations all parties are satisfied with."
One proposed change would clarify that local governments cannot bar concealed-carry license holders from other areas from bringing guns into their jurisdictions. It also alters the definition of a firearm to include starter pistols but exclude "antique" guns, such as matchlock, flintlock or muzzle loader rifles.
Former Topeka police chief Ed Klumpp, provided written testimony for a coalition of law enforcement groups asking legislators to consider how changing the definition would affect such crimes as the sale of a firearm to a felon.
"Understand we are not opposing the change per se," Klumpp said. "However we do want to point out the importance of the Legislature to fully explore the impact of the change of the definition of 'firearm."'
Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, also questioned a provision that would allow any "visitor" with a valid concealed-carry license from another state to carry in Kansas. She wondered when a visitor would be considered a permanent Kansas resident who must follow the state's gun laws.
"It's a state of mind," Klebe said. "Kansas residency is largely within the mind of the individual."
After the hearing, Faust-Goudeau said that answer wasn't clear enough.
"I would really want an individual carrying (a gun) to know our rules and regulations if they're going to be here an extended period of time," she said.