Kurt Hoffman, Gardner, counts the number of bullet holes on a target during a conceal and carry class on Saturday. Hoffman teaches state-mandated classes to people who want to acquire a Kansas license to carry a concealed handgun. Staff photo by Danedri Thompson

Danedri Thompson
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The gun is always loaded, even if you just got through unloading it, Kurt Hoffman, conceal and carry instructor, told a small class of students Saturday morning. The students attended the eight-hour class on Saturday with the hopes of passing and applying for a Kansas conceal and carry license.
Kansas lawmakers approved the state’s conceal and carry law in 2006, and state officials approved the first licensees in 2007. More than 9,000 Kansans applied for licenses that first year.
The number of licensees continues to grow. By the end of 2010, Kansas officials had granted licenses to 29,183 people. Through August 2011, the state had received more than 9,400 applications.
The license allows its bearer to carry a concealed handgun. But earning the license requires the eight hour class, which includes information about the state statutes related to carrying a concealed weapon, a written test and shooting test.
“The main objective here is to get you qualified for a conceal and carry license,” Roger Thomas, conceal and carry instructor, told participants Saturday. “To give you an understanding of deadly force. Hopefully, you will never have to apply it.”
During the class, students learned when a concealed handgun can be used.
“(The class) is designed so you know you have a responsibility,” Hoffman, Gardner, told class members. “You can resist unlawful deadly force with deadly force.”
The weapon can only be used to protect the carrier and others who are in imminent danger. And even then, Hoffman warned a concealed weapon shouldn’t be used to hold a potential threat at the scene of an attempted crime or to shoot a retreating intruder.
“You are responsible for the bullets that come from the end of your firearm,” Thomas said. “No matter whether you hit your intended target or not.”
There are a number of places where licensees are not allowed to carry concealed weapons. In the majority of public buildings including most city halls and courthouses as well as the state capitol building, concealed weapons are prohibited. And private businesses can disallow guns on the premises by displaying the state-approved sign – a six-inch red circle surrounding the silhouette of a handgun with a red line through it.
Guns are prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school, except on private property within 1,000 feet of a school.
“If you fire your firearm within a school zone to defend yourself or others, you could be prosecuted federally,” Thomas warned.
In places where guns are not allowed, Thomas said, licensees will want to store their guns in the trunk with no bullets.
Forty-nine of 50 states have some form of conceal and carry law on the books. Illinois is the sole exception, but Kansas licenses aren’t recognized in all of those states. It is the licensees’ responsibility to know where they can carry a concealed gun, Hoffman said.
Once students complete the class, written and shooting test, they must be fingerprinted by the county sheriff’s office and apply for a license through the Kansas Attorney
See CONCEALED, page 8
From CONCEALED, page 1
General’s office. The application fee  is $132.50 plus the cost of the initial class.
But cost isn’t the only thing that could keep a resident from securing a license.
Licensees must be at least 21 years of age, and must have a clear criminal record. For example, in 2010, 90 applications were denied – 79 for disqualifying criminal offenses including burglary, felony theft, misdemeanor controlled substance abuses, aggravated battery, welfare and check fraud, felony terroristic threat and indecent liberties with a child.
Licenses are valid for four years, but can be revoked. In 2010, 90 licenses were revoked, many for people moving out of state and many due to pending criminal charges.
“When you’re armed, you must be on your best behavior,” Thomas said.
For more information about conceal and carry class, call (913)856-6745. For more information about state licensing, visit the Kansas Attorney General’s web site at www.ksag.org.