LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
NEWSCAST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Kansas Firearms Businesses Ask for Protections From Discrimination

Trevor Santos speaking to the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A bill before a Kansas Senate committee would protect firearms businesses from discrimination, but a hearing on the bill also brought out other groups seeking protection.

Trevor Santos, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said firearms businesses can be the victims of discrimination. He used the example of a shooting range owner in Olathe who tried to insure a new vehicle.

“His insurance company said ‘we will not insure your vehicle because you’re involved in the firearms industry.’ Giving no other reason, solely because you’re involved in the lawful commerce of firearms and ammunition,” said Santos.

He said a survey of Kansas firearms businesses shows that situation is not uncommon.

“100 percent of the surveyors said that they had been discriminated against somehow, some way solely because they are involved in the lawful commerce of firearms and ammunition products,” said Santos.

Democratic Senator Tom Holland pointed out that no gun business owners came to the Statehouse to speak about the bill. He’s concerned this could open up discrimination lawsuits over normal business decisions. He uses the example of a bank denying a loan to gun shop because of a bad business plan.

“The bank says ‘well, we don’t think you’ve got such a great business model, maybe we don’t like your location’ or something like that. Could the gun owner then say ‘hey, you’re discriminating against me,'” said Holland.

Santos said the discrimination would have to be solely based on the fact that it’s a gun-related business and not other factors.

Some others said if lawmakers add protections for those businesses, they should also add protections for other groups. Elise Higgins is with Planned Parenthood.

“We really see an opportunity here to talk about discrimination against another group of folks in Kansas who provide a constitutionally protected service, that of abortion services,” said Higgins.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, said it would be unprecedented to add an entire industry to the state’s discrimination law.

Witt said there are more LGBT Kansans than firearms businesses in the state. He said lawmakers should consider adding discrimination protections for LGBT Kansans to the bill.

“Let’s get serious about protecting people’s constitutional rights. If we’re talking about protecting morally disfavored activities and industries, there’s no reason not to talk about these other issues as well,” says Witt.

The chairman of the committee, Republican Senator Ralph Ostmeyer, said he’s opposed to adding protections for any other groups to the bill. He said they should focus on Second Amendment rights.

“I’m saying that I don’t want this to be a tree’d up bill that’s got every issue you can imagine in it. I don’t think that’s the purpose of the bill,” said Ostmeyer.

====================
(BROADCAST VERSION)

A bill in a Kansas Senate committee would protect firearms businesses from discrimination. Trevor Santos, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, spoke in favor of the bill at a hearing Thursday. He says of survey of Kansas firearms businesses shows they sometimes find it hard to get insurance, buy advertising or otherwise work with companies that oppose firearms.


“100 percent of the surveyors said that they had been discriminated against somehow, some way solely because they are involved in the lawful commerce of firearms and ammunition products,” says Santos.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says it would be unprecedented to add an industry to the state’s discrimination law. He says if you’re going to do that, other groups like LGBT Kansans should also be protected from discrimination.


“Let’s get serious about protecting people’s constitutional rights. If we’re talking about protecting morally disfavored activities and industries, there’s no reason not to talk about these other issues as well,” says Witt.

The chairman of the committee, Republican Senator Ralph Ostmeyer, says he doesn’t want to add additional protections to the bill beyond firearms businesses.

====================
(VERSION TWO)

A bill before a Kansas Senate committee would protect firearms businesses from discrimination. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a hearing on the bill also brought out other groups seeking protection.


(SCRIPT)
Trevor Santos, with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, says firearms businesses can be the victims of discrimination. He used the example of a shooting range owner in Olathe who tried to insure a new vehicle.

“His insurance company said ‘we will not insure your vehicle because you’re involved in the firearms industry.’ Giving no other reason, solely because you’re involved in the lawful commerce of firearms and ammunition,” says Santos.

Some others said if lawmakers add protections for those businesses, they should also add protections for other groups. Elise Higgins is with Planned Parenthood.

“We really see an opportunity here to talk about discrimination against another group of folks in Kansas who provide a constitutionally protected service, that of abortion services,” says Higgins.

The League of Kansas Municipalities says the bill is broadly written and would expose cities to lawsuits.

Tags: 

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)
contact@kansaspublicradio.org