1 in 28 could be carrying concealed guns

Danny Maddox of Marion has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and he’s not alone.

On average, one out of every 28 adults in Marion County can legally carry a concealed weapon, according to data released Monday by the Kansas attorney general’s office.

“I have it for when I’m by myself to protect myself, and to protect my family,” Maddox said. “I hope to never ever use it. I don’t want to think about what would happen if I had to.”

The time it takes police to respond to a reported threat factored into Maddox’s decision to carry.

“When seconds count, the police are only minutes away,” Maddox said. “Being a former police officer, I can’t tell you how much that’s true.”

Between July 1, 2006, and June 30 of this year, 317 county residents — 3.4 percent of the county’s adult population —applied for and received concealed-carry permits.

Statewide, an average of 4.4 percent of adults age 21 and older have obtained permits. Marion is one of the counties least likely to have legal concealed weapons. It ranks 96th out of 105 in the percentage of adults with permits.

Maddox wasn’t surprised by the county’s rank.

“We’re a smaller county; it’s more friendly. Most everyone knows everybody,” he said. “I rarely carry around in town. When we go to Wichita, Manhattan, anyplace else, I’m usually carrying.”

The counties with the least permits per adult are Douglas (Lawrence) with 2.4 percent and Lyon (Emporia) with 2.9.

The counties with the most permits per adult are Lane (Dighton) with 9.2 percent and Butler (El Dorado) with 7.6.

Statewide, 96.2 percent of all applications were approved. That’s slightly higher than the 95.2 percent approval rate in Marion County, where 333 people have applied since concealed weapons became legal July 1, 2006.

The attorney general’s office received 14,205 applications for concealed-carry in the year that ended June 30. A record 25,316 applications were received during the previous fiscal year.

“The concealed carry program continues to be popular for Kansas citizens interested in becoming trained and licensed to protect themselves and their families,” Atty. Gen. Derek Schmidt said in a release.

Maddox said the decision to carry a concealed weapon should be carefully considered.

“Sit down and think very hard about it, because in the event something does come up and you have to draw your weapon, you need to know if you can do it,” Maddox said. “You may have to take another person’s life. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Training and knowing Kansas concealed-carry rules go along with that responsibility, Maddox said.

“Training, training, training — go through initial training, but don’t stop there. Every three months go to a range and train. Be familiar with it, and stay up on current laws,” he said.

More than 83,000 Kansans have concealed-carry permits. Maddox said some may “think they’re going to be a superhero,” but he believes the vast majority are responsible gun owners.

“I want people to realize that not everyone who wants to conceal-carry is some gun nut. There are concerned people out there,” Maddox said.

Permits cost $132.50 and require completion of an approved course unless the applicant is a recently retired law enforcement officer or a handgun-qualified corrections or parole officer.

Applicants must submit to a background check by their local sheriff’s office. Permits can be denied to those who, among other things, have been convicted of a felony, have fled a jurisdiction to avoid prosecution or giving testimony, have a restraining order against them, use drugs, have been committed or judged mentally defective, were dishonorably discharged from the military, or are an undocumented alien.

Since 2011, Schmidt has expanded the number of states that recognize Kansas concealed-carry permits from 24 to 36. A law passed last year allows all valid out-of-state permits to be recognized in Kansas when the holder is traveling temporarily in the state.

 

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