AG issues gun opinion

11/28/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued guidance Wednesday on how the state's concealed carry law applies to buildings used as polling places on election days.

TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued guidance Wednesday on how the state's concealed carry law applies to buildings used as polling places on election days.

In an opinion issued at the request of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Schmidt said voters with permits to carry concealed firearms must comply with regulations that applied to the specific location before an election. That means if voters are allowed to have a concealed weapon in a building before the election they will be allowed to carry concealed guns when voting.

"The use of real property as a polling place does not transform the nature of that property for the purposes of the (Personal and Family Protection Act)," Schmidt wrote.

Polling sites in Kansas are often found in places where guns are not usually allowed, such as churches, schools, universities and charity organizations. Guns also have been prohibited as a general rule from polling places to prevent voter intimidation or interference with elections.

Kobach requested the opinion, to clarify any ambiguity over how the law applied in non-governmental buildings during elections. Such buildings include property leased temporarily as polling places.

"We expected that the ruling would be very detailed and depend on the circumstances," Kobach said.

Schmidt said that a property leased in its entirety by a county for a polling place would be considered a state or municipal building for that day only and would be subject the county's concealed carry policy for the duration of the election.

"However, we do not imagine this circumstance occurring often if at all," Schmidt wrote.

Attorney general opinions aren't considered law but can be used as guidance until an issue is tested.

Kobach said there had been no issues with voting and concealed carry laws since the changes went into effect in 2006. There are more than 80,000 concealed carry permits issued in Kansas. The secretary of state said the guidance would help his office and counties "get ahead of the curve."

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