During this year’s legislative session in Kansas, state lawmakers twice took a stand in support of common-sense gun laws:
First, they worked together to enact a bipartisan law closing gaps in state law that gave domestic abusers easy access to guns. And then as the session came to a close last week, they stood up to gun lobby pressure and rejected a dangerous proposal that would have lowered the bar for carrying a concealed handgun in public in Kansas – including by lowering the minimum age from 21 to 18.
Taken together — along with the passage last year of gun safety legislation related to guns in public hospital buildings — these developments make clear that gun politics are changing dramatically in Kansas.
“The debate over gun rights…went in a decidedly different direction than it has in the recent past in Kansas,” the Journal-World reported this weekend in a session wrap-up.
In the Garden City Telegram, a weekend article described how the Kansas affiliate of the National Rifle Association “shot blanks” as it pushed for House Bill 2042.
“There were dire email alerts from the organization in weeks leading up to the Friday close of the session asserting some legislators would ‘love nothing more to see the clock run out on pro-gun legislation,’” the paper reported. “Indeed, that’s what happened…”
In the end, the NRA’s pressure campaign and concerned tweeting from Secretary of State Kris Kobach were no match for the overwhelming calls for common sense from constituents across the state. As the end of the session approached, volunteers with Moms Demand Action showed up at the State Capitol each day last week, staying for 17 hours from Thursday morning into early Friday to make sure lawmakers knew that concerned parents were watching closely.
What’s happening in Kansas reflects similar shifts in other statehouses, in red states and blue states alike, in the wake of the Parkland tragedy in February. With many state legislatures still open, the list of states passing gun safety legislation this year could grow longer still in the coming weeks.
As you look back on this session, please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information or to request an interview.