Kansas eyes allowing concealed carry for people under 21

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas gun rights supporters are pushing to lower the age for concealed carry of firearms from 21 to 18.

Wichita Republican Rep. Blake Carpenter and a Kansas State Rifle Association lobbyist on Wednesday told the House Federal and State Affairs Committee that it’s already legal in Kansas for those 18 to 21 to carry firearms openly in Kansas.

“The second they put on a coat or they put on a jacket — now they are breaking the law,” said rifle association lobbyist Jason Watkins.

The bill would create a provisional permit for those 18 to 21, issued by the state attorney general. Permit holders would have to complete a background check and undergo gun safety training.

Carpenter, a Derby Republican, said many Kansans are responsible gun owners at 18.

“Some of these Kansans are serving in our armed forces where they have bigger weapons than the ones that we are even discussing here today,” Carpenter said. He noted that 18-year-olds are allowed to vote.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Democrat, pointed out how the minimum drinking age is 21.

“Do you support, say, lowering the drinking age back to 18 for more of a universally accepted line of what is and what is not an adult?” Clayton said.

Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of Kansas Interfaith Action, said people younger than 21 have less developed risk assessment and decision making skills.

Three members of gun control group Moms Demand Action also spoke in opposition to the bill. One of them was Angela Lee, whose 18-year-old was fatally shot by a juvenile in Topeka about three years ago. She said opposing the bill is common sense gun safety.

“Kids can’t even decide what they are going to eat or what they’re going to wear, let alone, we are asking them to carry a gun,” Lee said.

The committee is also considering moves to expand the state’s recognition of concealed carry permits for out-of-state visitors who carry their own state’s permits.


Andy Tsubasa Field is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories