As if Kansas wasnít already among the more gun-friendly places in the nation, some state lawmakers want to be even more lenient.
The Harvard Injury Control Research Center determined states with stricter gun-control laws have lower levels of firearm homicide and firearm suicide.
Rather than acknowledging that fact and exercising needed caution, Kansas lawmakers would do the opposite in stripping away the concealed-carry permit requirement and its mandatory handgun training.
More than 90,000 Kansans applied for permits since concealed carry was passed in 2006, so the current requirements ó safety training included ó werenít a deterrent.
But proponents of the change claim itís needed to put concealed carry on equal footing with open carry, which does not require a permit and safety course (although it should.)
Kansas Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican and the billís chief sponsor, said the legislation would ďlead to more protection of individuals.Ē
But incidents of gun-wielding citizens successfully thwarting shooting incidents are rare at best.
Meanwhile, concealed carry permit-holders were responsible for at least 722 non-self-defense deaths ó including deaths of at least 17 law enforcement officers ó since 2007 nationwide. Road rage and domestic disputes were among leading catalysts, according to the Violence Policy Center.
Unlike law enforcement and military personnel whose extensive firearms training teaches them when and how to use force or restraint, many private citizens with guns arenít as well prepared to respond to a crime or violent act.
Toting a gun also may bring a false sense of security and risk that outweigh any possible level of protection.
That said, we know many law-abiding, well-intentioned Kansans feel better with a weapon for personal protection. Several tens of thousands have taken the safety training and secured a concealed-carry permit.
Even though Kansasí current, eight-hour training course requirement seems insufficient, itís better than nothing.
But safety isnít driving the proposed change from lawmakers who know supporting any gun-friendly legislation will ease their path to re-election.
While aligning with pro-gun activists may go a long way in Kansas, erasing a reasonable, safety-minded requirement as a way to score political points is a dangerous proposition.