Kansas’s hate and gun laws have significant gaps that allow people to keep and access firearms, including assault weapons, after they have been convicted of violent hate crimes.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Kansas
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Significant access||Significant access||Some access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Significant access||Significant access||Some access|
Kansas has a hate crime sentencing enhancement statute that authorizes (but does not require) courts to weigh hate motivation as a factor in criminal sentencing.1 (The statute does not include a victim’s disability, gender, or gender identity as protected categories). However, Kansas does not reclassify the severity of offenses committed as hate crimes and does not specifically prohibit people convicted of hate crimes from accessing firearms.
Kansas does prohibit people from accessing firearms for at least temporary periods, after they have been convicted of a felony. Individuals are generally permanently prohibited under Kansas law if they have been convicted of committing a violent felony (called a “person felony”2) while armed with a firearm.3 People convicted of other felonies, including murder without a firearm, are prohibited for five or ten years, depending on the crime.4 Federal law is broader and generally permanently prohibits firearm access by people convicted of felonies. 5
Kansas generally does not prohibit people convicted of violent misdemeanors from accessing firearms for any period of time, and also does not make misdemeanors punishable by a term long enough to trigger federal firearm restrictions.6 As a result, people convicted of violent hate crimes are only prohibited from accessing firearms in Kansas, under state and federal law, if they are convicted of felonies, such as crimes involving at least the risk of serious bodily harm, and some threats of violence or with deadly weapons.7
However, people convicted of violent hate-motivated misdemeanors remain eligible to access firearms in Kansas, under both state and federal law, including crimes involving knowing infliction of bodily harm, stalking, and some credible threats of violence.8
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- Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6815(c)(2)(C); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6818(a).
- “Person” felonies usually involve bodily harm or the threat of bodily harm.
- Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6304(a)(1).
- Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6304(a)(2) – (a)(3).
- Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 921(a)(20)(B).
- Under Kansas law, the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is typically one year, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6602, unless the judge departs from sentencing guidelines due to aggravating factors (which may include hate motivation), in which case a misdemeanor may be punishable by up to two years. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6818. Such misdemeanor convictions do not trigger federal firearm restrictions unless they are punishable by more than two years imprisonment under state law. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).
- E.g., felony “Aggravated battery,” “Aggravated assault,” and “Criminal threat.” Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-5413, 21-5412, 21-5415.
- E.g., misdemeanor “Battery,” “Assault,” and “Stalking.” Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-5413, 21-5412, § 21-5427.