Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2007

Concealed handgun era begins with issuance of first permits

January 4, 2007

Lansing resident Dick Boultinghouse figures he's qualified about 25 people who want a Kansas license to carry a concealed handgun.

Boultinghouse is one of 10 instructors in Leavenworth County certified to conduct the training classes and handgun qualifications that are required of applicants seeking a Kansas concealed carry permit. But he won't be among the first in Kansas to get the licenses, which are being issued beginning this week across the Sunflower State.

"I'll eventually get one, but I haven't taken the course myself," Boltinghouse said last week. "I'm authorized to teach, but I cannot authorize myself."

The state had mailed 2,981 license approval notices to concealed carry applicants as of Wednesday, said Chuck Sexson, director of concealed services in the office of Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. The next step is for applicants to take their notices to a Kansas driver's license office and have their concealed carry licenses made.

After years of debate and defeat in the Kansas Legislature, a concealed carry law won the approval of lawmakers in the 2006 legislative session. The law went into effect Monday, Jan. 1.

Leonard Ayres, a spokesman for Leavenworth County Sheriff Dave Zoellner, said 210 people had applied for the license in Leavenworth County. He said he did not know how many of those had been approved yet by the Attorney General's Office, which must sign off on the applications.

"We've been told unofficially that none have been rejected, but we don't know how many have been approved yet, either," he said.

The state has not yet rejected any applicants, Sexson said. He said there were less than 50 applications under legal and administrative review. If they are rejected, the applicant will be notified, informed of the reason and given an opportunity to appeal.

Among the main reasons for denial are having a criminal record and a history of mental illness, according to the state law.

Most of the applications under review are for errors, Sexson said.

"I think folks that apply for concealed carry licenses, if in fact they do have a disqualifier, are opting not to follow through with the applications if they know they will be denied," he said. "We're finding that most move through the process without too many hitches."

The law lists certain buildings and locations where weapons cannot be carried even with a concealed carry license. Included are bars and restaurants where more than 50 percent of the business is in alcohol or liquor sales, churches, courthouses and sporting events.

Owners of businesses and buildings also have the option of posting signs that prohibit carrying concealed weapons. The sign has to meet state design requirements. The sign can be downloaded and printed from the attorney general's Web site, www.ksag.org. The sign has a picture of a pistol with a red slash through it.

That Kansans will be getting licenses to carry handguns is a foregone conclusion, but Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman said the new law wouldn't change much in the way his officers interact with the public - they'll treat every situation as potentially dangerous. Officers, he said, already have dealt with lots of people carrying a weapon, no matter what the law.

For example, in mid-December a Lansing officer stopped a driver suspected of being under the influence.

"He gets ready to arrest him, pats him down and finds a .380 semi-automatic pistol in his front pocket," Wayman said. "(Handguns) are out there now - not legally concealed, but they're out there."

Wayman said he wasn't so much worried about those carrying a handgun who have gone through the law's requirements and secured a license as much as he was those that carry a weapon without a permit.

Nevertheless, Wayman said, those obtaining the new licenses have plenty to think about besides strapping on a holster.

"If people feel they need to get a concealed weapons permit, it doesn't relieve them of any responsibility," he said. "If they ever have to use their weapon, they better be prepared to face the consequences - legal and psychological - that come with it."

Officers involved in shootings, Wayman noted, often must deal with long-term psychological issues.

"There's a lot more to it than just packing heat," he said.

How to get a permit

Thinking of obtaining a concealed carry permit? Here's what you need first:

¢ A 2-by-2-inch photo showing the applicant's face from the chin to the top of the head. The photo must have been taken within 30 days of the application.

¢ A certificate from an approved firearms instruction course.

¢ A completed Kansas application for a concealed handgun license.

¢ New applicants must pay $110 to the Kansas Attorney General's Office and $40 to the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office. The licenses are good for an initial four-year period. To renew, you must pay $50 to each entity.

¢ A fingerprint card. A sheriff's officer will take fingerprints when the application packet is submitted.

¢ Applications are taken on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, in the Leavenworth County Justice Center, 601 S. Third St., Leavenworth.

Getting instruction

The Kansas Attorney General's Office certifies instructors to teach training classes and handgun qualifications that are required of applicants seeking a Kansas concealed carry permit.

The attorney general's Web site lists these people as certified concealed carry handgun instructors in Leavenworth County:

¢ Richard Boultinghouse, Lansing, (913) 727-1717

¢ Gilbert Forgey, Leavenworth, (913) 651-8462

¢ Tommy Herken, Leavenworth, (913) 683-3703

¢ Clarence Marquardt, Tonganoxie

¢ Larry Noell, Leavenworth

¢ Herbert Schlaf, Leavenworth, (913) 680-1907

¢ Douglas Smith, Leavenworth

¢ Michael Tate, Linwood

¢ Gerald Thompson, Leavenworth

¢ Burdel Welsh, Tonganoxie, (913) 660-0560

Fees for the eight-hour course vary by instructor.

- Lawrence Journal-World reporter Mike Belt contributed to this article.

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