TOPEKA — The Kansas House voted to adopt legislation Friday lowering the minimum age for carrying concealed weapons to 18 and mandating only people with a permit could legally bringing hidden firearms onto state university and college campuses.
The bill, sent to the Senate on a vote of 76-44, included a requirement Kansas begin recognizing conceal-carry licenses and permits issued by other states. The reciprocity provision applies only to handguns and was endorsed by Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
Amendments to House Bill 2042 reducing the conceal-carry age limit from 21 and adding the permit provision for carrying on campus were work of the Republican-led House.
During debate Thursday, the House rejected an amendment by Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, to grant college and university officials authority to ban concealed weapons from campus. State law says universities and colleges can forbid concealed weapons only in buildings with airport-style security, including guards and metal detectors.
More than 15 representatives in the House said in a statement they objected to the bill because it still allowed carrying concealed at higher education institutions.
The Kansas State Rifle Association, the state’s affiliate of the National Rifle Association, denounced Ballard’s “outrageous attempt to limit law-abiding gun owners from exercising their rights.”
Meanwhile, the House unanimously approved House Bill 2145 to close loopholes in Kansas law enabling domestic abusers to gain access to firearms.
The Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, praised praised the bill because it would prohibit gun possession by convicted domestic abusers and by domestic abusers while subject to a protection order.
“Common sense, research and our Kansas law enforcement community all tell us that guns and domestic abusers are a deadly combination,” said Jo Ella Hoye, a volunteer with the state chapter of Moms Demand Action.