Dangerous gun bill leaves Kansas conference committee

UPDATE:

The House concurred to separate the bills, so now HB 2145 as it passed the Senate (restrictions on who can carry guns, silencers, and decriminalizing throwing stars) is going to the Governor’s desk. HB 2042- concealed carry reciprocity –  is still in conference committee, which will meet tomorrow morning (April 6th) at 8am. We will keep you posted.

What happened earlier:

The Federal and State Affairs Conference Committee combined a good gun bill, HB 2145, which prohibits certain people (like domestic abusers) from having guns, and a bad gun bill, HB 2042, which legalizes concealed carry reciprocity, into ONE BILL along with some bad amendments.

HB 2145 as the conference committee passed it did the following:

  • legalizes concealed carry reciprocity
  • allows 18-20 year olds to concealed carry with a permit
  • decriminalizes throwing stars
  • creates some restrictions on who can own guns (like convicted domestic abusers and people with restraining orders against them)

The House voted to concur with the original Senate version of HB 2145, so now it creates restrictions on who can own firearms, changes Kansas law regarding silencers, and decriminalizes throwing stars. 

HB 2042 – the concealed carry reciprocity bill – is now still in conference committee. The next conference committee meeting is April 6, 2018 at 8am. We’ll keep you updated.

Below, you’ll find our notes from all the conference committees on these bills.

Federal and State Affairs Conference Committee Meetings on Gun Bills

There were two gun bills in the Federal and State Affairs conference committee this week – HB 2042 and HB 2145.

Conference Committees are when three members of the House and three members of the Senate meet together and discuss the differences between their versions of a bill and then come up with a unified version. Conference Committees are notoriously last-minute, and meeting minutes are not officially taken at them. If you want to know what happened in a conference committee, the word on the street is that you have to be there. So we went!

The members of the Federal and State Affairs Conference Committee for 2018 are the chairs, vice-chairs, and ranking minority members of both the House Federal and State Affairs Committee and the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee:

Below, you’ll find a recap of all the discussion on guns in the Federal and State Affairs conference committee meetings and a notice for when each meeting happened. We didn’t take notes on the amusement park bills or the alcohol bills because that’s beyond our scope.

March 26, 2018

4:00 pm

On March 26, 2018, there was a conference committee meeting on the gun bills, HB 2042 and HB 2145. Thursday the conference committee meeting will be rescheduled “can I get with you later and we’ll work out a time?”

They first discussed HB 2042, which is the bill that creates concealed carry reciprocity. In the House, it passed with two amendments—one lowering the age of concealed carry to 18, and one requiring permits for carrying guns on postsecondary educational institutions. The Senate Committee stripped the bill of those amendments and made a straight concealed carry reciprocity bill. Senator Faust-Goudeau asked a question about page 1 section C line 28, “Would that individual have to be 21?” The Revisor had to double-check, but said that he believed that if you’re from out of state, you can carry under reciprocity if you’re under 21 and from a state that allows people under 21 to carry, but that if you take up Kansas residence, you would have to get a Kansas license if this bill were to pass.

They then moved on to HB 2145, which prohibits certain people from carrying guns. This bill passed cleanly through the House with a 122-0 vote. In the Senate, two amendments were added—one of which concerned throwing stars and the other concerned suppressors and silencers. The dates the law would go into effect are also both different. You can read more about this bill here and here.

Barker asked whether the issue of silencers is in federal court right now, and Estes confirmed that according to the Attorney General, it’s currently in the 10th District Federal Court. Barker then asked if HB 2042 and HB 2145 could be married into a single bill so that “we could have a vehicle for some other issue we may have” because they would be on the same topic—guns. Faust Goudeau asked what discussion there was regarding throwing stars in the House, and Barker confirmed that it was not mentioned at all.

Senator Faust-Goudeau asked a question about page 1 section C line 28 in HB 2042 – would that individual have to be 21 for the language in C1 on 2042? Barker said if you’re from out of state, you could carry under reciprocity, but if you change status you could not. If you took up residence, you would have to get a Kansas if you’re eligible for a Kansas. Highland asked, “what about South Dakota?” Barker didn’t know.

 HB 2145 is the bill that makes it a crime for certain people to possess a firearm, like people convicted of domestic violence offenses. The effective dates were different in the House and Senate’s versions of the bill, and the Senate added two amendments to it. You can read more about that here.

Barker asked about suppressors, “is that not in litigation now in federal court?” Estes said that according to the Attorney General, it is in the 10th district of federal court. Barker also asked if HB 2042 and HB 2145 could be combined into one bill and then “we could have a vehicle for some other issue we may have”- they could be same subject.

Faust-Goudeau asked, “You mentioned about the throwing star. In the House, what was your discussion about?” Barker said they had none and it was never raised on the House side. He said they had other amendments, referring to the amendments lowering the age of concealed carry to 18 and requiring permits to concealed carry on college campuses, and the Senate took out those amendments. Senator Olson said, “These two amendments were put on in committee, is there a recorded vote on that?” Barker said he has them but it may not be recorded. Senator Olson asked if the House had any other House bills that they wanted to marry into these two. Barker mentioned the hearing on HB 2789 in the House Insurance Committee, chuckled and said “not suggesting we are moving today.” Faust-Goudeau asked about the bump stock issue. Barker said it was never raised in the House and he’s unsure whether it was raised in the Senate. Senator Estes said it was raised in committee. Ruiz asks for clarification on that. Representative Barker said, “we’ll discuss all 4 amendments and if we want to add them back.”  Senator Faust-Goudeau also said, “I don’t want a lot of things to weigh down the domestic violence and the clean bill.” Senator Olson wanted to discuss amendments before talking about “marriage-ing” the two bills. Barker said he carried the House bill and it had 122 votes with no amendments, so he understands the Senate’s concern.

The revisor said that HB 2042  section C1 is in conflict with another provision about criminal possession of a weapon.  Olson said that they need to wait and work the amendments and then if there’s other necessary statute.  The Revisor’s office says that we have a more specific criminal statute than general statute regarding age of carry. A person under 21 from a state with permits allowing carry under 21 would still be in violation of the criminal statute under HB 2042. Barker asked if that language was already there or later put in by the Attorney General. Faust-Goudeau mentioned former Representative Forrest Knox who had led the charge on these gun bills before he was voted out. She wanted to make sure there are no unintended consequences to this bill.  The Revisor said HB 2042 addresses reciprocity but it’s silent on the criminal statute. Ruiz asked if the language in the 3rd item fixes it. The Revisor said yes, that if you change the language from 21 to 18—yes. “There’s multiple ways you could address it,” he said. Faust-Goudeau said that she really wanted them to fix it, that law enforcement doesn’t know who the bad guy is, and she wanted to make sure it’s clear.  Barker agreed. Barker said they would get a few bills which will be “harmonized” with these bills. Then they moved to alcohol.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

8:00 am

They started the conference committee meeting at 8 am with discussion on alcohol bills. We’ll spare you the details of that, but we were definitely surrounded by a bunch of liquor industry lobbyists. They ended quickly and rescheduled it for 2:30pm, but did not say whether or not they would discuss the gun bills.

2:30 PM

Ranking Minority Member of the House was late to the conference committee meeting. Barker started by saying that they will talk about alcohol today, and maybe guns later but he wasn’t not sure yet. They didn’t talk about guns. Next meeting was scheduled for 8:30 am on Monday morning.

Monday April 2, 2018

8:30 am

They started with the amusement park bills, which they decided to move until the afternoon because someone wasn’t there who needed to be. Barker asked if they have a spreadsheet of all the gun bills on both sides yet. They decided to reconvene to discuss gun bills at 3:00 pm.

3:00 pm

The House was still in session discussing education funding, so the conference committee was postponed to 4:30 pm.

4:30 pm

They discussed the amusement park rides first.

Tuesday April 3, 2018

3:00 PM

They didn’t discuss any gun bills.

Wednesday April 4, 2018

3:00 PM

First, the conference committee started by finishing up other business. Then Representative Barker said, “Well gentlemen, let’s talk about guns.”

First, they talked about the differences between the Senate and House versions of both HB 2145 and HB 2042.

They started by discussing the amendments to HB 2145. The first was to decriminalize throwing stars. Senator Olson says the intent is to keep people from getting kicked out of school for just possessing one without criminal intent. The second amendment was to decriminalize silencers. Senator Estes said it’s in Federal Court right now. He mentioned the two men in Wichita who got in trouble with the FBI for manufacturing silencers in their garage. Senator Estes says that this amendment won’t actually help those men in Wichita. The Senate Amendment on silencers means that a suppressor used that was made in line with the 2nd Amendment possession act.

HB 2042 is the concealed carry reciprocity bill. The House made two amendments to that bill– one would require someone to have a license if they are under 21 to carry guns on campus. The other would allow public universities to prohibit guns carried by people who do not have a permit.

The Landwehr amendment is what allowed 18-20 year olds to carry with a license. The Arwen amendment requires permits to carry on college campuses and lowers the age to 18.

Representative Barker asked if there should be two bills or asked if they could combine them into one conference committee.  Senator Olson wanted to discuss the amendments. Senator Olson said he likes the Landwehr Amendment. They then discussed whether to combine these amendments.

They took a break to talk amongst themselves. Then they discussed what they could do with the suppressor amendments and the throwing star amendments.

Faust-Goudeau asked about the lowering the age of 18. Representative Highland said that other states have 18-year-olds that carry and Kansans would have to be older than 21 to carry while other people from other states would only have to be 18. Senator Estes said that 18-year-olds would be allowed to carry and that they go to war and vote, so they should be trusted with a gun.

Representative Barker said “Is there any agreement to combine these two bills into one bill?” They said they’ll think about this tonight and come back tomorrow.

Senator Faust-Goudeau said they have had 12 homicides in Wichita this year, and that she thinks we’re going down a major slippery slope. Then they closed for the day.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

8:00 am

Representative Barker said that it’s the House’s position to consolidate the two into one bill. Senator Olson said that he will concede to the House. Barker said that the House is unclear about what the federal courts will do on the silencer issue, so they want to take that out.

The Senate is OK with the Landwehr amendment, which lowers the age of concealed carry to 18.

Representative Barker said that the House is up for election, and he can only give an agreement to revisit the silencer issue next year acknowledging that.

The Senate and the House agreed to combine HB 2042 and HB 2145 into one bill numbered HB 2145 along with two amendments – one that decriminalizes throwing stars and the other that lowers the age of concealed carry to 18 with a permit.

They adjourned.