TOPEKA, Kan. (CN) - Gov. Sam Brownback today will sign a bill allowing Kansans to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Senate Bill 45 , approved by the state House 85-39 and the Senate 31-8, will eliminate the state's permit process, in which concealed carry applicants were required to submit to state and national background checks and complete an approved handgun safety and training course.
Kansas is already an open-carry state and will continue to issue licenses if gun owners apply. But the new law allows adults to carry handguns openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, without a license.
Kansas is the fifth state to allow concealed carry without a permit, joining Arizona, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Under the new law, adults must be at least 21 years old and eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law to carry a concealed weapon without a license.
Citizens with federal disqualifiers such as a felony conviction, misdemeanor domestic abuse conviction or adjudication as being mentally incompetent will not be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Kansas despite the new law.
Also banned are those dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military, illegal users of alcohol or drugs and anyone who is subject to a protective order.
Brownback was scheduled to sign the law at a news conference attended by representatives of the National Rifle Association and Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas Rifle Association.
SB 45 was "in the works" for at least three years, Stoneking told Courthouse News.
"Carrying a gun is a lifestyle," she said. "I trust Kansans to act responsibly and so does the majority of the Legislature."
Some lawmakers are not persuaded.
State Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, said the bill would put law-abiding Kansans on equal footing with violent criminals.
"Law-abiding, legally registered gun owners who should be able to conceal and carry are currently being far outnumbered by illegal gun owners - some, often criminals - who do conceal and carry. In our society, I prefer to favor the lawful over the lawless," Haley told the Topeka Capital Journal.
The law takes effect July 1.
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.