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.
It may be against the law in Kansas to carry guns under certain circumstances and in certain locations.
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)).
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:
(Kan. Stat. § 21-6332 (2019).)
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:
Violations are punished as a Class B misdemeanor. (Kan. Stat. § 6301(a)(11), (j) (2019).)
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).)
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).)
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.
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 under age 18 aren’t allowed to have handguns (with a barrel shorter than 12 inches), unless they are:
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).)
It’s also illegal to possess a firearm if you:
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).)
A few types of weapons are outlawed in Kansas, including:
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).)
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.
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.