New Law Lowering Age To Carry Set To Take Effect In Kansas

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

Starting Thursday, adults over the age of 18 will be able to exercise their right to both keep and bear arms in the state of Kansas. A new law is taking effect that opens up the concealed carry licensing process to adults under the age of 21, though they won’t be able to carry without a license until they reach the age of 21.

Kansas adopted Constitutional Carry back in 2016, and there haven’t been any issues with the law, according to Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, who’s also on board with lowering the concealed carry age to 18.

“Those doing crimes, we have found, are not lawful citizens,” said Easter. “A lot of the violent crime that is taking place right now in Wichita isn’t really innocent victims. It’s a lot of folks that are involved in drugs or been involved in other types of criminal activity.”

The new law says adults aged 18, 19, or 20 who concealed carry will need a license from a certified class.

Bullet Stop has been doing classes for years, and the company says it agrees with the new law on licensing.

“So there’s a lot of people that have been trained and qualified and actually taken a class to learn what they can and can’t do,” said firearms technician Chris Chambers with Bullet Stop. “It just makes it where everybody’s not running around carrying guns, not knowing what they’re doing.”

While I’m all in favor of training, I’m not a big fan of mandates, so I’ll confess to having some mixed feelings about Kansas’ new law. On the one hand, I’m glad that those under the age of 21 can now carry in self-defense, particularly given the fact that other states are moving in the opposite direction and are imposing restrictions on the 2A rights of 18, 19, and 20-year olds. We also recently saw a federal judge in Florida uphold a state law banning gun sales to those under the age of 21, so even in states that are seen as 2A-friendly, the rights of young adults have been weakened in recent years. That’s a far cry from what’s happening in Kansas, which is taking a much more constitutionally sound approach to recognizing the fundamental nature of the right to keep and bear arms.

On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in making laws as simple to understand and follow as possible, and the two-tiered system that will soon be in effect in Kansas could lead to some confusion about who can carry without a license and who still needs to obtain one. Ideally, anyone who can legally possess a firearm should be able to legally carry it without having to first obtain a permission slip from the government.

My hope is that the new law taking effect tomorrow will end up being a waypoint in the right to carry revolution, and Kansas lawmakers will continue to expand the state’s Constitutional Carry provisions to include 18-to-21-year olds in the not too distant future. Still, this is a big step in the right direction, even if it’s not the last step for legislators to take, and the new law is a net positive for those of us who want to ensure that every law abiding American has the means and ability to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights.