Alva Review-Courier -

Kansas lawmakers narrowly reject ban on using bump stocks


March 16, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators narrowly rejected a proposal Thursday to make it illegal for gun owners to use bump stocks to make semi-automatic rifles mimic fully automatic ones.

The vote in the state Senate was 20-20 and came as lawmakers had their first major debate on gun issues since a school shooting last month in Florida that left 17 people dead.

Democratic Sen. Lynn Rogers, of Wichita, offered the bump-stock proposal as an amendment to a bill sought by state Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office. The underlying measure would clarify rules for allowing people who have permits to carry concealed weapons in other states to carry concealed while in Kansas.

Rogers argued that banning the use of bump stocks would reduce deaths from gun violence. His amendment would not have made mere possession of a bump stock illegal.

But Sen. Ty Masterson, a conservative Andover Republican, said the ban on using bump stocks would be illegal. He said gun owners can use a belt loop to increase a semi-automatic rifle's rate of fire so that it mimics a fully automatic one.

Kansas has been one of the most welcoming states in recent years for gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and a testing-ground for initiatives to loosen restrictions on gun owners. Adults 21 and older can carry concealed guns without a state permit, and in 2010, an amendment to the state constitution reaffirming individual gun-ownership rights was approved with 88 percent of the vote.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, a moderate Mission Hills Republican, proposed a second amendment to the attorney general's bill that would allow someone to go to court to get guns removed from a family member's home if they believe the family member is a danger to himself or others. But it was ruled out of order because the subject strayed too far from the underlying bill.

The Senate's debate on bump stocks came after it gave first-round approval to a bill that would make it a felony under state law for anyone convicted of domestic violence to possess a firearm within five years of conviction. It would also be illegal for fugitives to possess guns.

It already is a crime under federal law for domestic abusers to have guns. But supporters of the bill say federal courts and prosecutors are often too busy to handle such cases and a separate state law would allow prosecutions in state courts.

The Senate expected to take final action on both bills Thursday evening.


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