While other states continue to try to find ways around recent Supreme Court rulings and whittle away at gun rights, Kansas is going in a different direction. While Kansans have traditionally enjoyed more Second Amendment freedom than the majority of states, Governor Sam Brownback is taking things to the next level as of this summer, when all legally entitled residents will be able to concealed carry without a permit.

Kansans soon can carry concealed weapons without permits or training under a bill signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday.

The new law, which kicks in July 1, makes Kansas the sixth state to allow “constitutional carry.” It will allow Kansans 21 and older to carry concealed firearms regardless of whether they have obtained a permit.

Training still will be required for anyone who wants to carry a concealed gun in the 36 states that accept Kansas permits.

Brownback touted the importance of training, explaining that his youngest son took a hunter safety course this past week.

Representatives from the usual list of suspects are up in arms, of course, predicting doom and gloom over the change. The biggest sticking point seems to be the elimination of mandatory training, and on this point I’ll at least give them some space to make their case. I’ve been through the required courses in New York, starting with my first hunter safety training course back in the seventies, and I absolutely see the value in proper training. Various models of guns have different safety features and operating functions, and failing to understand and properly use them can lead to tragic results. Also, basic gun handling procedures can greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents. You might think that those rules are obvious once you hear them, but unfortunately there are far too many stories of clueless people doing stupid things which result in tragedy.

So should the training be mandatory? Given my usual stance on Second Amendment rights you might be surprised to hear it, but I think it probably should be. The problem comes with places such as New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia and others who structure the rules in such a way that the “acceptable” training becomes prohibitively expensive. If the state is going to mandate the training, then it should either be made available for free or at a price which is affordable for everyone. The more expensive it is, the more likely some new gun owners will skip it. But Kansas is launching into some uncharted waters here and we’ll just have to wait and see how that plays out.

The only other “controversial” aspect of the Kansas law is that the age limit is remaining at 21. I fail to understand the rationale behind this. (Or, to be honest, having the drinking age set at 21 for that matter.) I’ve yet to hear any elected official make a plausible case as to why a young man or woman can enlist in the military and go fight in a war at age 18 (or earlier) but not be able to carry at home. Still, it’s a start. The needle is moving in the correct direction across most of the country and a solid majority of citizens want this trend to continue.