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County attorney supports two bills

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The county attorney for Leavenworth County recently has testified in support of two pieces of legislation being considered at the Statehouse.

One bill supported by County Attorney Todd Thompson would allow judges to prohibit people who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment from possessing firearms. The other bill would increase penalties for rioting in correctional facilities.

Thompson calls the bills common sense measures.

Thompson recently testified in favor of House Bill 2095.

As proposed, the law would give a judge the ability to prohibit the possession of a firearm as part of a temporary custody order for the care and treatment of a person who suffers from mental illness. The order would be issued following a hearing.

The person who is the subject of the order could petition the court for reinstatement of the right to possess a firearm.

“What we find is people with extreme mental health issues and are a serious risk of harming themselves or others get released in a relatively short time and can still purchase or possess a firearm,” Thompson said in a news release. “I fully believe in our Second Amendment, but in circumstances like this we need to do everything to protect our community and our citizens.”

The bill is under consideration by the Judiciary Committee of the Kansas House of Representatives.

Thompson testified in support of the bill as a representative of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association. Thompson is president of the organization.

Thompson also has testified in support of a bill that would increase the penalty for rioting in a correctional facility.

Under current state law, the act of rioting is a misdemeanor regardless of where it takes place.

HB 2191 would make rioting in a correctional facility a felony.

The act of inciting a riot is already classified as a felony under state law. But the bill would increase the severity level for incitement to a riot in a correctional institution.

According to Thompson, committing battery, possession of contraband or escaping already are felonies for prison inmates in Kansas.

Thompson’s support for changing the penalties for rioting comes after a riot broke out last year at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

“I have seen first-hand the damage and injuries caused when a riot occurs in a facility,” Thompson said in a news release. “Individuals causing thousands of dollars of damage, hurting other inmates and hurting staff. The risk of harm and damage are not commensurate with receiving a misdemeanor.”

This bill is under consideration in the Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Thompson said he delivered his testimony for the bills in a virtual format.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR