Learn rules on carrying guns
As of July 1, citizens can carry firearms openly in most places in Kansas. It is the responsibility of property owners to choose to prohibit or allow such open carry.
Various signage is available to post at the entrance to businesses to alert customers, so you need to be aware as to what each sign means. One sign bans both open and concealed carry; another allows concealed but not open carry; another allows open but not concealed carry.
If you choose to carry, try to be discreet, limiting your firearm to compact but adequate choices. Lugging around an assault-type rifle, shotgun or hand cannon will turn off most observers and probably get you a prolonged visit from law enforcement.
Open carry means just that. The weapon cannot be concealed. Carrying a concealed weapon without a license is a crime.
If you are in an establishment and an employee, observing your firearm, asks you to leave, do so with no arguments. If you are in the middle of a meal, ask that it be repackaged to carry out while you wait outside.
Finally, remember that you are not required to come to the aid of someone being assaulted just because you are armed. Guns do not solve problems.
Ditch water rule
On April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a proposed rule to expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Although the agencies have gone to great lengths to assure farmers, ranchers and rural businesses that this rule will not affect them, nothing could be further from the truth.
The proposal attempts to bring ponds, puddles, ditches and even dry land under federal regulation. This could require more permits for routine farming activities. Despite what they have said, the agencies narrowed statutory exemptions for agriculture under the CWA. These requirements could prevent expansions, conservation practice implementation, and other beneficial activities that provide jobs and water quality benefits for Kansas. Furthermore, the rule will require the use of additional state resources, as the federal government forces Kansas to regulate greater areas of the state under the CWA.
Members of the Kansas Agricultural Alliance, representing Kansas agriculture and rural businesses, sent a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and our congressional delegation asking them to help oppose the proposed rule.
All Kansans should join us in writing the EPA and our congressional delegation asking them to ditch the rule.
AARON M. POPELKA
Kansas Agricultural Alliance
As the student body president at Wichita State University, I was recently selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program, part of Leadership Kansas. During the three-day session, I networked with the 39 members of the 2014 Leadership Kansas class while learning about a variety of issues concerning our state’s future.
Even though I am only an undergraduate student, I was welcomed by top public officials, private-sector executives, nonprofit leaders and university officials.
My experience included a tour of the massive Spirit AeroSystems production plant, a presentation at the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., a tour of the National Center for Aviation Training, and a tour of the El Dorado prison. Each location included a panel focusing on a topic related to the state’s future competitiveness. We even learned about the principles of leadership from WSU men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall.
I have benefited greatly from my time with the program, and I am confident that my experience will positively contribute to my development as a citizen leader of Kansas. I would like to thank the Emerging Leaders Program sponsors, Westar Energy and the Capitol Federal Foundation, as well as the Leadership Kansas board of trustees.
Kansas has a bright future ahead.