Saying anything critical about guns in this part of Kansas seems about as unwise these days as loudly endorsing the Donald Trump Presidential campaign in the middle of El Pueblito. People here don’t react well when someone is skeptical of individuals needing to have a deadly weapon within reach in all places at all times. So it didn’t surprise me when I heard from so many readers who are apparently better-versed in this state’s gun laws than I am regarding a column that ran earlier this week addressing mental health and firearm issues.
Those who wrote this latest batch of emails and social media comments took exception to a couple of claims that I want to address – angering users of firearms is admittedly not a great life insurance policy.
If I phrase things incorrectly or make misstatements in defending my opinions, I owe it to readers to point that out and inform them that I was wrong. I want to make clarifications on two of the points I raised in the column in Wednesday’s newspaper.
- The way last Wednesday's column was worded, it implied that the concealed-carry legislation proposed by State Senator Forrest Knox would allow a fugitive to carry a firearm without a permit. This was false, since the law only applies to those who could legally purchase handguns. That doesn’t include fugitives, according to federal law. Clearly, the phraseology used in this part of the column seemed a little deceptive to some readers, and I should have done a little more research and made my point a little more delicately.
- I took lawmakers like Knox to task for making the building where they work an exemption to these unpermitted concealed-carry laws. It was apparently wrong for me to do so because on July 1, it became legal to carry a concealed weapon into the Kansas Statehouse.
When people started to tell me I was wrong about the Statehouse being an exemption to these laws, I initially assumed they were joking. However, upon doing some research, I was forced to admit I was wrong.
It was an understandable error on my part. When I visited Topeka a couple of months ago, security at the entrance of the Statehouse was quite a hassle even for those of us who somehow survived a whole tour of this building while leaving our guns at home. Back then, the Statehouse and other government buildings that have metal detectors at their entrances were exempt from these new concealed-carry laws.
Some legislators must have recognized how a decision to exempt themselves from their own flawed gun laws looked to skeptical citizens like myself, and changed this law. So now, anyone who can legally purchase a gun can carry a concealed weapon without any type of permit into the Statehouse. I am sure that security guards working in that building are totally thrilled about this decision.
Even though I hate to be called out for being incorrect about something, I am glad that our lawmakers chose to be consistent and not let their own workplace be exempt from their own nonsensical law. I just hope that they never see an actual live demonstration of why letting people bring guns to the statehouse untested and unchecked might be unwise, especially in an era where the state government has cut funding on services for the mentally ill.
It is interesting that newspaper columnists who make minor mistakes are expected to quickly apologize, make corrections, and try to do better in the future. For once, it would be nice to see the politicians who are steadily ruining this state held to similar standards.
Please send all questions, comments, hate mail, marriage proposals, NRA applications, or observations of things that I screwed up in this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.