AUGUSTA, Kan. — Questions continued to be raised Tuesday about the discharge of the firearm at Hillier Stadium in Augusta during Sunday’s commencement exercise. Two people were injured, including the man carrying the gun.

Augusta police say the non-life-threatening injuries occurred when the man was moving his gun. Police say he had the gun stowed in his sock, rather than a protective holster. They report the man was repositioning it, because it was uncomfortable there. Police say it discharged,firing through his foot. Then bullet fragments struck and injured a woman several feet away in her leg.

The attorney for the Kansas Association of School Boards, Lori Church, said the best schools can do is to continue posting “no gun” signs at entrances of schools and school stadiums, to get the message across that guns aren’t welcome.

Church admitted the man who had the gun at Sunday’s graduation ceremonies at Hillier Stadium had a conceal carry permit, so he didn’t break a law by simply having the gun there.

“The only thing the school district can do is ask the person to leave the premises,” Church said. “It’s no longer a crime to carry where signs are posted, saying that you cannot have a concealed handgun. All we can do is ask them to leave.”

Wichita attorney Dan Monnat researched the law. “If a Kansan possesses a valid Kansas carry and conceal license, the person cannot be criminally prosecuted for carrying a firearm into a school building, a school stadium or on school grounds, under either state or federal law,” Monnat said. “Even if the school has posted that possession of firearms is prohibited.”

Monnat said it’s not relevant whether the stadium itself is considered a school building or not, on the question of the man breaking any laws by possessing the gun there.

“Every law you look at that might apply in this circumstance doesn’t apply,” Monnat explained, “because the same law exempts from its provisions someone who’s entitled by licensure law to possess a firearm.

“At most, such a person can be asked to leave posted premises or could be denied access,” Monnat added. “But the Kansas law specifically says a licensed person shall not be subject to criminal prosecution for carrying a firearm on posted premises of a school.”

School Board attorney Church said if schools recognize someone with a gun, ask them to leave and they don’t, then it may become a trespassing issue.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the incident was still under investigation and had not been presented to the Butler County Attorney to consider potential charges.

See full video at KAKE.com

KAKE TV – By Chris Frank

WICHITA – Following the accidental gun discharge at the Augusta High graduation Sunday, where two people were injured, KSN is asking if schools can keep concealed carry guns out of graduations.

“The Kansas Statute has allowed schools to set their parameters in regards to school safety,” says Terri Moses, Executive Director of Security Services at USD 259, Wichita Schools. “And we have the no gun signs on all of our properties. And we continue to enforce that rule.”

Legal minds agree. Federal law says no guns within 1,000 feet of a school zone. Kansas law has allowed concealed carry holders to carry a gun on school grounds.

“Are there exceptions to the federal law? Yes,” says legal analyst and Wichita attorney, Dan Monnat. “If a person has a valid carry and concealed license, then the question is, does it conflict with Kansas law?”

Monnat says the bottom line is, no guns by Kansas statute, if schools post signs that say no guns.

“Posted signage makes such possession illegal,” says Monnat. “However, there are no criminal penalties for that statute. The only (legal) remedy is denial of access to or removal from the school premises.”

The Augusta police chief says he is going after charges in the Augusta case.

“It’s illegal for anyone to have a weapon on school property, we’re looking into that right now,” said Chief Tyler Brewer, Augusta Director of Public Safety.

Augusta Superintendent John Black says the shooting has been what he calls a learning experience.

“This brings up an interesting series of questions,” says Black. “Security is something we take seriously. We will continue to review our safety procedures.”

Augusta has a sign outside its stadium, where the accidental shooting happened. Kansas Statute 75-7c (et. al)  goes extensively into concealed carry. It also says federal law is usurped by Kansas law that, in turn, says concealed carry permit holders can carry on schools, unless signs are posted.

USD 259 officials say they will continue to use metal detectors to keep guns out of graduation ceremonies and other large events.

“I think they’re reasonable for the safety and security and peace of mind that they give to people when they are entering an event,” said Moses.

Augusta Chief Brewer says his office will present a case to the county attorney for charges, later this week.

KSNW TV – By Craig Andres

WICHITA – Recent changes in Kansas gun laws even had the Augusta Police Chief confused about whether it was illegal for one gun owner to have his weapon at the high school football stadium during graduation. School attorneys say this is a grey area in the law that needs to be cleared up.

Posts - Gun Free Zone

“Usually we don’t get these questions until something has already happened,” said Lori Church, an attorney for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

She’s talking about something like a gun accidentally going off during a graduation ceremony.

Police say the gun’s owner holds a valid Kansas Concealed Carry permit. But signs outside the stadium say no guns allowed.

But whether he was breaking the law depends on what lawmakers meant when they decided K-12 schools could ban concealed carry guns from “buildings” but not “grounds”.

“If you look at the Kansas statutes that would apply to that they talk about specifically about buildings or structures,” said Church. “And the definition does not define exactly what is a building.”

Does a football stadium count? Concealed carry instructors tell Eyewitness News they don’t think so because the stadium is open air.

The KASB says the answer needs to come from one of two places.

“Clarification in the law through the legislature where they would define more clearly as to what would include a building. The other thing would be possibly an attorney general’s opinion,” Church said.

In the meantime, it has told districts to err on the side of caution.

“Our advice has been when in doubt, post the sign,” she added. “And then at least everyone knows what the intent is.”

Parents say the law needs to be clarified.

A sign on the edge of the Heights High property in Wichita says the school is a “gun free zone.” But for people with a concealed carry permit – what’s allowed, gets confusing.

“No gun” signs are plastered on the doors of Heights High School, and carrying a firearm inside, is against the law.

Some parents think whether inside or outside, guns should be banned on school grounds.

“You have adults come on property, they can pull a gun. So I think it should be not allowed,” said Natasha Walker, a Heights High parent.

Despite a sign banning guns on the parking lot, the law specifically allows people with a Kansas concealed carry permit to have their firearm in the parking lot.

There’s also a “no guns” sign on the gates to the football field. What’s legal inside the fence is hazy.

Parents and students think that needs to change.

“It needs to be very clear,” Walker said.

“I think the law needs to be clarified as well. They need to be very specific, to make sure people understand,” said Sam Gleason, a Heights student.

Other parents say the law should be clarified, but support allowing guns on school property.

“Anyone who has conceal and carry who’s had the proper training and background check, that would make me feel safer – knowing that someone who is trained has that and is in the stadium,” said Lisa Williams, another Wichita parent.

One Wichita defense attorney says it doesn’t matter what the law means, because even if taking the gun inside the football stadium is illegal there’s no real penalty built into the law.

“Whether it’s a school building, a school stadium, or school grounds it doesn’t make any difference to this issue,” said Dan Monnat, defense attorney. “The person it appears cannot be criminally prosecuted under either state or federal law for carrying a firearm on school premises.”

Church agrees saying schools really only have on option when that happens.

“Even if somebody does carry a gun where they’re not supposed to, even with the signs posted, all we can do is ask them to leave,” she said.

We asked the attorney general’s office is a football stadium a building? In an emailed response, the office said, “Because our office provides legal representation to the state and its agencies, we cannot provide counsel, legal advice or research to private citizens, businesses or groups.”

See full video at KWCH.com

KWCH TV

WICHITA, Kan.  – A divisive issue is sparking controversy across the state.

Kansas lawmakers are weighing in on a proposal to prevent transgender people from updating their birth certificates.

Kansas would be one of only four states to not allow transgender people to change gender on birth certificate.

Transgender activists warn that this will increase discrimination across the state.

“I have a hard time understanding the point behind it, if the point is not to be discrimination,” stated Wichitan, Elle Boatman, who transitioned four years ago.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment is trying to enforce a policy that would make it almost impossible for transgender people to alter their gender on their birth certificate.

“The KDHE regulation being proposed says a person cannot change their birth certificate unless it’s demonstrated that the gender on the birth certificate was incorrect on the original birth certificate,” Dan Monnat, KSN Legal Expert.

“It’s already difficult for trans people to update documents and when your documents don’t match that can put you in some really bad situations, my driver’s license still says male,” Boatman explained.

According to the Kansas Statute, only minor corrections to birth certificates are allowed, and Governor Brownback argues that changing the sex designation is not a minor change.

“People can disagree and say I don’t like this and thinks it should be changed, but the law is the law and you implement it,” said Brownback.

It’s a change that will not only affect the transgender community, but Monnat tells KSN that taxpayers might soon feel the cost of this as soon as the policy goes into effect.

“Civil rights lawsuits will be brought by transgender individuals and hundreds of thousands of Kansas tax payer dollars will be squandered defending bigoted, discriminatory regulations,” explained Monnat.

The proposed change could go into effect as early as in the next six weeks.

The Obama Administration is now telling public schools that they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity in order to provide students with non-discriminatory environments.

KSNW TV – By Avery Anderson

WICHITA, Kan. – The mother of a 2-year-old girl whose body was found in north Wichita earlier this week is calling for justice after her child’s babysitter was released from jail.

“I was shocked. I was hurt,” said Jhornee Bland’s mother, Jackqailine Hardin. “I felt like I was betrayed. I felt everything above the sun right now.”

Wichita police say no charges are being filed at this time in the death of 2-year-old Jhornee Bland.

An autopsy of the child’s body has found there was no trauma to Jhornee that would have caused her death.  Police, however, would not identify the cause of death.

As a result, Tyerria Miles, who was identified by family members as a friend and babysitter, has been released from jail.

Now, Hardin said her main focus is on getting justice for her child.

Posts - Tyerria Miles

Tyerria Miles (Courtesy: Facebook)

Police say Miles was released “without prejudice.”  That means, while the charges against her are not being dropped, she will not be kept in jail at this time.

“That’s all we want, justice. She didn’t deserve to be back there.”

“No charges will be filed in the case until all of the testing is completed,” said Wichita Police Deputy Chief Hassan Ramzah.   “It’s important for us to do a thorough investigation.”

Part of that investigation detectives will be looking at include the events in the child’s life in the days leading up to her death.  That investigation will start with looking at last Wednesday, May 4th, when police say 25-year-old Tyerria Miles picked the toddler up from her mother.

“On Saturday, May 7th, the friend had a birthday party for another child at a local motel where several attended the party, including Jhornee, spent the night,” said Ramzah.

Sometime between 1 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. on Sunday, May 8th, Jhornee died.

“And the friend places Jhornee’s body inside of her vehicle,” Ramzah said. “The friend removed Jhornee’s body from her vehicle, at approximately 10 p.m. prior to picking up Jhornee’s mother.”

Miles was arrested on Monday on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment and possession of stolen property.

Police also say on Monday, May 9th Miles led investigators to a field in the 1900 block of N. Hydraulic where Jhornee’s body was found.

The question then is, why was Miles released?

“The autopsy showed no trauma to the body of the child. and no trauma causing the death of the child. It is certainly at this point completely unclear what crime might have been committed by whom,” said Dan Monnat, an attorney and legal analyst.

The District Attorney’s Office told KSN Thursday it will not keep someone behind bars until it has facts to support filing a specific charge.

Meanwhile, police say the investigation into Jhornee’s death is ongoing.

“I just wish I could have my baby back,” said Hardin. “That’s all I want is her back.”

KSNW TV –  By Brittany Glas

WICHITA – Drinking and driving is never okay but Friday night, it’s getting a little extra attention from the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Drivers can expect to see a few more deputies on the roads on the lookout for impaired drivers.

Deputies are doing what’s called a saturation patrol all around Sedgwick County.

Their goal is to stop people from potentially harming themselves or others, and to encourage people to find a different way home if they’ve had too much to drink.

“It’s a weekend night so, you know, Friday night, where we generally see more partying, more drinking going on,” said Lt. Lin Dehning with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Through a grant funded by KDOT, a few times each year the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office will use four to six off-duty deputies to patrol the county.

They won’t be taking 911 calls and instead will be patrolling areas known to see drunk drivers or DUI-related crashes.

“If it encourages someone to maybe call a cab or catch a ride home with somebody else if they’ve been drinking too much, then we’ve been successful in that too in that we’ve stopped somebody from getting behind the wheel when they’re impaired,” Dehning said.

And while DUIs can have potentially deadly consequences, KSN spoke with an attorney to find out what other costs they might bring.

“Besides risking other lives and your life when you drink and drive, you are also risking your own liberty and your own livelihood,” said Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney.

Monnat says a DUI can be expensive for the offender.

“It would not be far-fetched to consider the total cost being, even for a first offense, somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000,” he said.

They’ll be facing fines, treatment costs, the expenses of potential house arrest or ignition inter-lock devices and of course, attorney fees and increased insurance premiums.

“No matter how you look at it, drinking and driving is dangerous, legally complex, and expensive,” Monnat said.

Friday night’s saturation patrol will last from 10 p.m. through 3 a.m., but officials say even deputies working their regular hours will continue to be on the lookout for impaired drivers.

WICHITA, Kan. – Kansas Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow non-public employees to go into public buildings without going through security.

Attorney Sal Intagliata goes in and out of the Sedgwick County Courthouse not just once, but many times a day.

“It’s a long process to stand in line,” Intagliata said. “To go through a metal detector, and have your bag searched is an annoyance.”

Wichita and Sedgwick County leaders are frustrated too. They are hoping to get a law passed that would allow people who pass a background check to avoid these lines and bypass the screening process.

“They would come in just like an employee, ” said Wichita Communications Director Ken Evans. “Have a badge like an employee.”

Two bills are being considered in the Kansas Legislature. Each is a little different, but the idea is the same. Anyone can apply for what’s called a “fast pass.”

After clearing a state and federal background check, he or she would be approved to come and go to public buildings without going through security.

“It is an honor system,” Evans said. “In addition to background check, they will sign an affidavit saying “I will not bring weapons into city hall and the county courthouse.”

For people who have business in city hall and the courthouse it could be a huge time saver.

“Mainly because I come here so much, I could get in and out really quick,” said courier Ron Howard.

Both the House bill and Senate bill are in a conference committee, to work out any differences. The vote is expected during the veto session.

See Sal Intagliata’s full interview on the “fast pass” at KAKE.com

KAKE TV – By Deb Faris

Merrick Garland hasn’t exactly had resounding support as President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, but Wichita’s Dan Monnat has had a nice plug for the job.

The attorney’s former law professor, retired Creighton University professor Richard Shugrue, wrote an article about the selection process for Omaha’s Daily Record, a legal and business news publication. In it, he decried the lack of non Ivy League nominees to the court through the years.

Shugrue argues that lawyers in the Northwest and Midwest “are every bit as good as the people usually considered for the high court,” though they may lack “pull” in the nation’s capital.

One of those people, he writes, is “… Dan Monnat in Wichita, the fabled trial attorney who graduated from Creighton 40 years ago.”

A modest Monnat says, “I thought that fabled was grandiose, but I was honored that he remembered me.”

He also says he’s open to the job.

“Of course. It’s the greatest legal job you could possibly have in the United States.”

Is he qualified?

“Well, that’s a completely different question,” Monnat says, adding, “Though I don’t think Professor Shugrue is nominating Dan Monnat to the United States Supreme Court.”

He says the point his former professor is making is that if certain nominees had gone to Creighton or a Kansas school, “They’d probably still be just as worthy.”

See full story at Kansas.com

Kansas.com – By Carrie Rengers

By KAKE TV

WICHITA — Wichita police are releasing surveillance video of what two Wichita State students are calling a hate crime.

The attack happened Saturday between 3:15 a.m. and 3:18 a.m. at the Kwik Shop at 21st and Oliver.

The video shows two men filling up at the pumps when one of them is confronted by a man on a motorcycle. The video appears to show the men exchanging words. Then, one of the students pushes the man on the motorcycle, who then punches and kicks him multiple times.

The surveillance video does not have sound. We asked an expert to look at the video of the incident.

“You really need to hear what the language is, that is going on, because threats of use of force can include words or actions and that’s what we need to know, in order to tell who’s the aggressor and who may be acting in self defense,” said Attorney Dan Monnat of Monnat & Spurrier Attorneys at Law.

During a news conference earlier this week, Khondoker Usama, who is the student body vice president at WSU, said he and his friend, who is Hispanic, were at the Kwik Shop filling up with gas and getting snacks when a white man on a motorcycle was yelling racial slurs at a black man when all of a sudden he turned on him and his friend.

“He started yelling at my friend, hey brown trash, brown trash go home,” said Usama.

Usama called 911 and was on the phone with dispatchers when the man circled them on his motorcycle yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

His friend, who hasn’t been identified, suffered a cut to the lip.

Police are looking to question the man on the motorcycle. He is described as a white man in his 30s, about six feet tall, and 200 pounds.

Police are also looking for the driver of a white van, who was at the gas station and may have witnessed the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (316) 268-4646.

See full video at KAKE.com

KAKE TV – By Chris Frank

WICHITA – Some Kansas lawmakers say the punishments for teen sexting are too severe and need to be changed.

Rep. Ramon Gonzalez, a republican from Perry, says his bill is aimed towards rehabilitating middle and high school students caught sexting rather than punishing them with a felony and having them on a sex offenders registry for life.

Rep. Gonzalez is Police Chief in Perry, Kansas and a sheriff’s detective in Jefferson County. Gonzalez says, “If a 12 year old sends a (nude) picture to a 16 year old or vice versa it’s classified as a level 9 felony.” He asks, “Why would you want to penalize a young person like that with a level 9 felony?” He says they would also register as a sex offender.

He says with the bill’s changes, if a teen sends a nude photo of another teen or is caught possessing such a transmitted photo, it’s still a crime but a misdemeanor rather than felony.

He says, “The whole intent was making sure we don’t criminalize a child to that degree when the child’s brain is still developing as far as cognitive skills.”

Gonzalez says the teens are being “stupid” when sexting — sending sexually suggestive texts or explicit photo’s. But he wants them to have the chance at being rehabilitated.

Wichita criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat says, “Until these proposed amendments, the only Kansas law that applied to sexting were the child pornography or the child exploitation laws which carried lengthy prison sentences and lengthy periods of sex offender registration. Many viewed those laws as too severe to apply to the misguided acts or intentionally cruel acts of young people. As a result sexting in Kansas was either punished too severely or not at all.”

Monnat says the bill’s changes will give more latitude to courts. “The proposed amendments give judges and prosecutors a brand new tool with which to achieve more fairness.”

The bill came to the House floor Tuesday for debate. There wasn’t any opposition to it. On Wednesday it returns to the House floor for a vote and is expected to pass. The Senate is considering a similar bill.

See full interview at KAKE.com