By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Kan., April 2 (Reuters) - Kansas residents will be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the state without training or a permit starting in July under a bill signed into law on Thursday by Governor Sam Brownback.
Brownback, a Republican, said the new law will protect the rights of gun owners, while opponents said the measure poses safety risks.
"Responsible gun ownership - for protection and sport - is a right inherent in our Constitution," Brownback said in a statement.
Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Arkansas and Wyoming have similar laws and nine other states are considering them, according to the governor's office.
The measure passed with strong support from both chambers of the Republican-controlled Kansas legislature.
Kansas will retain a permitting process for residents who want to carry a concealed weapon in states that require them, Brownback said. Businesses can still post signs that say concealed weapons are not allowed on their property, he said.
Brownback said he encourages people to take gun safety training courses.
Loren Stanton, president of the Kansas chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, questioned the wisdom of making training voluntary for carrying a concealed weapon.
"There is no way that taking away training can make guns safer," Stanton said. (Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Kansas; Editing by David Bailey and Eric Beech)