Democratic gubernatorial candidates discuss stance on guns

Capitol Bureau

The Kansas primary is less than a week away and as we move closer, KSN is breaking down the issues and where candidates stand. 

Gun legislation has been a major topic in Kansas each legislative session as legislators passed laws requiring universities to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campuses and voted to loosen restrictions on concealed carry, such as not requiring a permit or training. 

“I think those were important and reasonable gun restrictions that gun owners supported when we passed them in the mid 2000’s” explained Josh Svaty, who served in the House when concealed carry was first passed. “We required eight hours of training and getting a permit from the state and those were unfortunately all removed after I left the legislature.”

Out of the three major democratic gubernatorial candidates, Svaty and Senator Laura Kelly are the only two who have served in the state legislature and had a say in current state gun laws.

“I believe it is perfectly fine for law abiding citizens to own guns. I also believe it is fine for us to hunt,” Kelly said. 

In recent debates, Kelly’s opponents have been critical of her past voting record on guns.

In 2015, Kelly along with other Kansas lawmakers voted to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Prior to that, people needed a permit which required training. 

When asked if she would be supportive of stricter gun laws, Kelly said “I want gun sense policies in this state.” 

Kelly pointed to the most recent legislative session where she supported a new law which takes guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Kelly added more gun restrictions should’ve been passed. 

“Last year, we voted on a number of other things, we would’ve banned bump stocks, we would’ve put in a three year waiting period, we would have had universal background checks, those kinds of things. And yes, I do think we need to reinstate some of those,” she said. 

Svaty said allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus should be left up to the universities. 

“I’d like to see us go back to a style of government where we allow the chancellors or presidents of universities to determine whether or not they should allow guns on campus rather than having the state mandate it on them when many of them did not want it,” Svaty said. 

“I would definitely be supportive of more gun restrictions,” said former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. 

Brewer served 21 years in the military as an infantry officer. He explained using weapons in the military required a lot of training, something he said should be required in the state. 

“If you want conceal carry, I support conceal carry, but I don’t support having guns in schools or teachers having guns.”

Svaty and Kelly also said they don’t support arming teachers. 

Kelly, Svaty, and Brewer are also facing Arden Andersen and teenager Jack Bergeson in the primary. 

The primary is Tuesday, August 7. 

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