Gov. Kelly vetoes four bills targeting concealed carry, elections, and controversial license plate

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Democratic Governor Laura Kelly announced four vetoes on Friday. The vetoed bills address election laws, concealed carry age, and a controversial license plate.

House Bill 2058 would have allowed 18 to 20 year olds to get a concealed carry gun license. Currently, only people 21 years and older can concealed carry.

“We can respect and defend the rights of Kansas gun owners while also taking effective steps to keep our children and families safe. Legislation that allows more guns on campus is neither safe nor effective, and it will drive prospective students away from our schools,” Kelly said in a news release.

Supporters of the bill said it would help protect younger people and encourages safer gun use.

“It’s very disappointing to me that the governor doesn’t recognize that it’s not licensed holders that are committing crimes,” said Rep. Stephen Owens (R-Hesston). “This promotes getting the training, this promotes getting the license, so I just don’t understand why anybody would stand in the way of allowing that to occur.”

NRA statement on Gov. Kelly’s veto

In a classic case of political flip-flopping, Gov. Kelly has bent to the will of radical gun control groups and denied tens of thousands of law-abiding gun owners the ability to defend themselves and their families when away from home. Her veto on HB 2058 demonstrates not only a reversal in position, but a callous indifference when it comes to the issue of self-defense. Hopefully the legislature will correct this grave injustice and override her veto in the coming session.​​”

 Travis Couture-Lovelady, NRA’s Kansas State Director

Kelly also vetoed two bills addressing election laws that made a variety of changes. One bill would have limited people from delivering more than 10 ballots for others. Another banned the governor, secretary of state, or judicial branch from changing election laws.

“Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud in Kansas. This bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. It is designed to disenfranchise Kansans, making it difficult for them to participate in the democratic process, not to stop voter fraud,” Kelly said. “We also know what happens when states enact restrictive voting legislation. Hundreds of major companies across the nation have made it abundantly clear that this kind of legislation is wrong. Antagonizing the very businesses Kansas is trying to recruit is not how we continue to grow our economy.”

Statement from the ACLU of Kansas regarding Gov. Kelly’s veto of legislative voter suppression measures:

We support Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto today striking down a raft of cynical voter suppression bills aimed at disenfranchising Kansas voters.

We believe that in America, voting is a right, not a privilege conferred on a favored faction able to traverse a bureaucratic, statutory maze calibrated to weaken turnout.

These measures, rammed through the last session are intended to make voting more difficult and what’s more, they penalize actions and behavior already crimes under Kansas law.

County Clerks and elections officials opposed these changes. The Secretary of State, who shares a party affiliation with those most determined to undermine Kansans’ ballot access, affirmed that the previous state and national elections were among the most secure in the nation’s history.

There was no cheating or fraud, the Secretary of State said.

The ACLU of Kansas believes that instead of following Georgia’s lead in discouraging turnout, Kansas should be working to expand civic participation.

Democracy requires participation.

Measures designed to stifle participation are by definition, undemocratic.”

ACLU of Kansas Executive Director Nadine Johnson

Lastly, the governor vetoed a license plate bill. It focused on new license plates for military, childhood cancer, educators, and a sorority, but the bill was amended to include a license plate with the Gadsden flag.

That’s the yellow flag with a snake that reads, “DON’T TREAD ON ME.”

The proceeds from the flag license plate would have gone to the Kansas State Rifle Association. Opponents of the proposal said it is seen as racist.

“The Gadsden flag has become, over time, a symbol of racism and divisiveness. By inserting the Gadsden provision into an otherwise positive piece of legislation, the Legislature ensured a veto,” Kelly said. “The Legislature can easily pass and send me the original bill. If they do, I will sign it.”

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