Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) last week signed a comprehensive pro-gun bill that will make it easier for gun owners to comply with the state's carry and gun- transportation laws by prohibiting municipalities from enacting a patchwork of local restrictions. HB 2578 becomes effective July 1, 2014.
"Kansans have long believed the right to bear arms is a constitutional right," Gov. Sam Brownback said in a short statement announcing his April 23 signing.
Strong bipartisan support included passage by the state Senate (37-2) and subsequent concurrence by the state House of Representatives by a 102-9 vote.
Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, who sought the bill, said he was gratified by the governor's signing.
"People who really want to see gun freedom extended in our state should be very happy with this bill," Howell said. "At the same time people who want more safety around firearms and more teeth for our law enforcement ... those people really are also fans of this bill because it creates clarity on their end also."
The bill received significant support from gun advocacy groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Kansas Rifle Association.
Among its provisions, HB 2578 will:
-Expand Kansas' firearms preemption provisions to open carry and will prohibit municipalities from implementing local ordinances relating to the transportation of firearms.
-Prohibit the use of taxpayer funds for so-called "gun buyback programs." These programs are a waste of taxpayer dollars and have no proven impact on crime reduction. This bill will prohibit seized firearms not used in the commission of a felony from being destroyed by law enforcement agencies. These firearms, so long as they are in operable condition, would either be sold to a licensed gun dealer (FFL) or donated to hunter education programs. In addition, it would also mandate that if a firearm has been seized by law enforcement and the owner is acquitted of the charges or the charges are dropped, the firearm must be returned to the owner within thirty days.
- Prohibit county, city or municipal employers from maintaining a database of employee permit holders, ensuring confidentiality.
- Codify a "shall certify" requirement that a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) sign off on an application to transfer an item regulated by the National Firearms Act, including short barreled rifles/shotguns and suppressors, within 15 days, as long as the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the item.