Weapons Charges in Kansas

Kansas allows most adults to carry guns openly or concealed. Learn about the state’s limited restrictions on possession, carrying, and use of firearms and other weapons.

Kansas has among the most gun-friendly laws in the United States. Adults who are at least 21 years old don’t need permits to carry guns in public or in their cars, either openly or concealed—and concealed handguns are allowed in most places in the state. However, some people aren’t allowed to have certain types of weapons, and there are a few restrictions on carrying and using firearms and other dangerous weapons. Read on for details.

Restrictions on Carrying Guns and Other Weapons in Kansas

It may be against the law in Kansas to carry guns under certain circumstances and in certain locations.

Young People and Concealed Handguns

If you’re younger than 21, you may be charged with a class A misdemeanor in Kansas for carrying a concealed handgun anywhere other than your own home, land, or fixed place of business (Kan. Stat. § 21-6302(a)(4), (b) (2019)).

Carrying a Gun While Under the Influence

It’s also a class A misdemeanor to carry a loaded gun on your body or within reach in a vehicle while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, unless you:

  • are at your home, business, or property; or
  • have the gun temporarily while defending yourself or someone else.

(Kan. Stat. § 21-6332 (2019).)

Guns at School

In general, it’s illegal to have a gun on K-12 school property or at school-sponsored activities. However, this prohibition does not apply to:

  • concealed handguns carried by people who are at least 21 and aren’t otherwise prohibited from firearms possession under federal or state law (as discussed below).
  • any guns kept in cars by parents and others who are dropping off or picking up students, or by any registered voter who’s on school grounds to vote
  • gun possession in connection with an authorized safety course or with an administrator’s permission.

Violations are punished as a Class B misdemeanor. (Kan. Stat. § 6301(a)(11), (j) (2019).)

Firearms Restrictions in Other Locations

Except for law enforcement or certain other officers, Kansans can be charged with a class A misdemeanor for having a gun within a building in the state capitol complex, in or on the grounds of the governor’s residence, or in other state buildings with signs prohibiting guns. Other than in these buildings, state law specifically allows concealed handguns in the state capitol.

Other buildings may prohibit concealed handguns if they post conspicuous notices to that effect. Nonetheless, you won’t be charged with a crime for violating the notices but will only be asked to leave. (Kan. Stat. §§ 75-7c10, 75-7c20, 75-7c21, 21-6309 (2019).)

Local Restrictions Prohibited

State law in Kansas specifically prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing their own gun regulations other than personnel policies or properly posted restrictions on concealed handguns in municipal buildings. (Kan. Stat. § 12-16,124 (2019).)

Who Is Prohibited From Having Firearms in Kansas?

It’s illegal in Kansas for some groups of people—including felons, minors, and those with a recent history of domestic violence—to have certain types of weapons.

Felons

Under Kansas law, certain felons are prohibited from possessing any firearms or dangerous knifes (like switchblades, daggers, or straight-edged razors). This will be a lifetime ban for those who had a gun when they committed a violent crime against another person, a drug crime, or an equivalent juvenile offense, unless they’ve had the conviction expunged or have been pardoned. Some other felonies will result in a gun ban for five or 10 years, depending on the original crime. Violations of the prohibition are punished as a level 8 felony. (Kan. Stat. § 6304 (2019).)

Minors

Minors under age 18 aren’t allowed to have handguns (with a barrel shorter than 12 inches), unless they are:

  • at their home and have the gun with their parents’ consent for the purpose of defending a person or property
  • on property controlled by their parents, grandparents, or legal guardians, and have those family members’ consent
  • attending a firearm safety course
  • hunting or trapping with a valid license
  • engaged in target practice or organized competition, or
  • traveling to or from any of those authorized activities.

First violations are punished as a class A misdemeanor, but subsequent violations will be treated as a level 8 felony. (Kan. Stat. § 6301(a)(14), (l) (2019).)

History of Domestic Violence, Addiction, and Other Limiting Factors

It’s also illegal to possess a firearm if you:

  • have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime within the past five years
  • are currently subject to a domestic violence protective order that was issued after a hearing and prohibits threatened, attempted, or actual physical violence
  • are addicted to and using illegal drugs
  • are in the U.S. unlawfully
  • have fled an arrest warrant for a felony, or
  • have been involuntarily committed for treatment of mental illness or substance abuse.

Violations are generally treated as a level 8 felony, except for possession by people who’ve been committed for treatment—a class B misdemeanor. (Kan. Stat. § 6301 (2019).)

Prohibited Weapons in Kansas

A few types of weapons are outlawed in Kansas, including:

  • guns that fire repeatedly with one trigger pull (often called automatic or machine guns)
  • bludgeons, sand clubs, or metal knuckles
  • blackjacks and dangerous cutting weapons (like throwing stars and straight-edged razors), but only if you intend to use those weapons illegally.

You can be charged with level 9 felony for possessing an automatic rifle or carrying an automatic handgun. The same is true if you’ve had certain previous felony convictions and you’re caught with any of the other banned weapons. Otherwise, possession of those non-firearm weapons will be punished as a class A misdemeanor. (Kan. Stat. §§ 6301, 6302, 6305 (2019).)

Illegal Use of Weapons

It’s against the law in Kansas to fire a gun recklessly within city limits or at a building or an occupied motor vehicle, boat, train, or other means of transportation. The level of punishment depends on the specific location, whether someone was hurt, and whether the target building was occupied. Unless you’re a law enforcement officer or other authorized personnel, you may be charged with a class C misdemeanor for firing a gun (recklessly or not) on private land without the owner’s permission or on a public road or right-of-way. (Kan. Stat. §§ 21-6308, 21-6308a (2019).)

You may also face more serious charges if you use a gun or other deadly weapon while committing another crime, such aggravated assault.

Speaking with a Lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges over weapons violations, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. Felony charges, in particular, can lead to serious consequences, including heavy prison sentences and a criminal record that stays with you. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights and prepare the best defense possible.

Watch Out for Legal Changes

States can change their laws any time, but you can check the Kansas statutes to see the current version of laws discussed here. You should know, however, that court decisions may affect how those laws are interpreted and applied. That’s another reason to consult a lawyer if you’re worried about actual or potential criminal charges.

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