Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sebelius vetoes gun bill; backers vow challenge

April 19, 2007

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed a bill aimed at preventing cities and counties from restricting where legal gun holders could carry their concealed weapons.

Sebelius on Friday said House Bill 2528 "actually sets up greater inconsistencies and creates new threats to the public."

For example, Sebelius said, "concealed weapons currently may be banned at professional and school sporting events. However, this bill would prevent communities from banning them at similar such events at city or county sports fields.

"If it is in the interest of public safety to not have weapons at school-sponsored sporting events, it makes little sense to then prohibit local officials from banning guns at other sporting events, as this bill would propose."

Veto override

The action by Sebelius sets up another confrontation with lawmakers over gun issues.

Last year, lawmakers enacted the concealed carry law over her veto. This year's bill would put the state in charge of how the law is applied.

After concealed carry became law, several cities sought to ban concealed guns in some locations, such as public parks and city buildings.

Sponsors of the recent bill vowed Friday to try to override Sebelius' veto when the Legislature returns for a wrap-up session April 25.

"We are certainly going to try," state Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth, said.

State Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, said the legislation is needed so the law that allows concealed carry of guns is followed uniformly across the state.

If not passed, Journey said he feared law-abiding citizens could get in trouble. "Cities set traps for permit-holders," he said.

A veto override would take 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate. The measure passed in the House with 106 votes and the Senate with 29 votes. But some who voted for the bill may refuse to vote to override a veto.

Compromise sought

In her veto message, Sebelius said she supported compromise language that had been proposed that would have given local officials some flexibility in restricting concealed carry. That language, however, was taken out of the final version of the bill.

"If the Legislature decides to take further action on this issue, I would strongly encourage them to pass the compromise language," she said.

But Ruff said the compromise was confusing and failed to gain support in the Senate.

Journey said he thought Sebelius' veto seemed like "sour grapes" from last year when she was overridden on concealed carry.

"It's an excuse for a much broader philosophy in opposition to the right of self-defense," he said.

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