Three-fourths of Kansans responding to a poll oppose legislation signed by Gov. Sam Brownback that allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training.
The results are part of the annual Kansas Speaks survey conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University.
They show that 75 percent of respondents oppose the new law that will enable people over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit or state-mandated training starting in July.
The random sample survey of 519 Kansans was conducted between March 23 and April 1 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
The question posed to respondents was: “Do you favor or oppose allowing legal gun owners in Kansas to carry concealed weapons in public without a license or certification of formal training?”
Last month, Brownback signed legislation, strongly backed by the NRA, that will make the training currently required to obtain a concealed carry permit optional. Only 25 percent of respondents agreed with the policy.
Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, one of the bill’s main proponents, blamed the poll’s results on the wording of the question.
“When you ask folks if they think you should have training it seems pretty typical that folks will say, yeah, that sounds like someone should have formal training. But when ask them if they think you should have go through a bunch of background checks and fees and paperwork to get a constitutional right, specifically the right to carry a gun, well, it changes the whole dynamic,” Couture-Lovelady said. “So I still think the way you ask the question significantly alters the way you’re going to get things.”
“You kind of get a knee-jerk reaction that says, well, yeah, I want everybody carrying concealed to have training,” Couture-Lovelady continued. “And we do. Everyone does. It’s just matter of whether or not everyone agrees there should be a state-mandated course or not.”
Couture-Lovelady said based on his conversations with constituents that the majority of Kansans support the loosening of gun restrictions.