By Loribeth Reynolds

Police officers consulted for this story don’t mind if you have a concealed weapon — as long as you have had training, acquired a permit for it, and are legal.

But now they are getting nervous.

A proposed Kansas law could soon eliminate the requirement for having training and permits for carrying concealed handguns.

Authored by Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, the bill recently sailed through the Senate with 31-7 vote.

Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson traveled to the statehouse in Topeka to testify against the bill on March 13.

Henderson is seriously concerned because the proposed law would drop the education mandate for the current concealed-carry law.

“I’m very pro-conceal- carry with training,” Henderson said.

“What I don’t like is the fact that this bill will do away with training for individuals who carry a firearm.”

Steve Dunmire, HCC security officer, said although he doesn’t currently carry a gun, he would like those who do to receive training.

“I’m concerned about people who are not familiar with guns being able to walk into the pawn shop and leave with a gun tucked into their waistband,” Dunmire said.

Henderson said the purpose of the training is to perfect gun-handling skills, be more efficient, and to safeguard against accidents.

“The first advantage of a training course is that an individual gets a chance to learn how to load, draw, and fire a weapon,” Henderson said.

“Then that individual has an idea on what they need to work on.”

Henderson said there is a certain accountability that comes along with owning a weapon.

“The second advantage of training is that it teaches the liability of drawing a weapon,” Henderson said.

“Once you fire a gun, there’s no saying ‘Sorry.’ There’s no taking it back.”

At a recent legislative forum held in Hutchinson, Bruce explained why he authored the bill.

“I don’t think that citizens who abide by the law should have to ask the government’s permission to protect themselves and their families,” Bruce said.

“This bill would decriminalize not having a concealed-carry permit.”

Although the bill would make guns more accessible, Henderson doesn’t think it would increase crime.

“If the bill passes, I don’t see it being a big crime factor,” Henderson said.

“It would give more possibility for errors and people getting hurt.”

Dunmire served as a local law enforcement officer for 22 years before becoming HCC head of security.

He has many friends who carry concealed weapons.

“I’m not opposed to concealed carry,” he said.

“I just prefer that those who choose to carry a concealed weapon receive training. A little bit of training is better than nothing.”

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