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No-carry sign is not protection

The correspondence I have been receiving this year is weighted heavily toward gun control and Medicaid. There are going to be many controversial and passionate matters that will be addressed in the 2013 Legislature. This week, I will address gun control.

The core goal of legislation Kansas is looking at is to ensure personally responsible citizens have an avenue to protect themselves without infringing on the safety and freedom of others.

In 2006, Kansas passed its first concealed-carry bill. Since then, tens of thousands of law-abiding Kansans have applied and been granted a permit. To obtain the permit, Kansans must complete a certified firearms safety training class and fill-out an application, which is reviewed by law enforcement. I myself have concealed carry.

The motivation behind this type of legislation was the notion that we should not treat law-abiding citizens like criminals. Those who take the time to go to the training and fill out the necessary paperwork are not the citizens who cause trouble. In fact, to date, only 51 licenses have been revoked out of the more than 55,000 issued.

Many have said guns should have no place in public buildings and we should keep these areas gun-free. It is a point of view that many share. Last year, I received many communications saying that our courthouses, schools, hospitals could not afford the security necessary if the conceal-carry signs were taken down. The problem is without adequate security to ensure no one has a gun in a public building, it becomes irresponsible to prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves. Most people can agree a sign with a gun and a line through it does not provide adequate security.

I was a high school principal when the Columbine incident took place. Several of our area schools received threats, shortly thereafter, that we would be attacked. After careful consideration, I took measures to ensure our school would be safe and that, if necessary, force would be met with force. We followed this plan until I retired several years later. My thought: I would do anything to protect my students and staff.

At this time, I can only see the Kansas Legislature fighting to preserve the rights given to us in the Second Amendment.

On a fun note, I had the opportunity to give the Oberlin eighth-grade students and their sponsors a tour of the Capitol on Martin Luther King Day. We were the only people in the Capitol building, and the students had time to ask questions and go places normal tours don't get to go. They returned the next day for a picture with the governor.

Every time I have a group from northwest Kansas, I receive compliments on their behavior, and I received several nice compliments about the Oberlin group.

Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, represents the 120th District in the Kansas House of Representatives. ward.cassidy@house.ks.gov