Masks and your rights: We answer your questions

What does a mask mandate mean to you? We answer those questions.
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:32 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Eyewitness News has received several questions from viewers like you wanting to know more about a statewide mask mandate. We reached out to the Office of Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas Attorney General and some health law experts to get those answers.

First and foremost, is it legal for a governor to make wearing masks a requirement?

According to health law experts, governments, especially state governments, have fairly broad-ranging powers during a pandemic to ensure public health.

Secondly, do I have a constitutional right to not wear one?

No. Under the U.S. Constitution’s 10th amendment, state governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions.

Next, can I wear a mask and carry my firearm?

In some states, you cannot conceal carry a firearm if you wear a mask, but Kansas is not one of them. So, any mask wearing requirements will not affect concealed carry.

Finally, who will enforce the mask mandate?

We asked the governor’s office this question specifically but weren’t provided an answer. What we were told is that counties are automatically opted-in on the mask-wearing mandate, but county commissioners can vote to opt-out.

Sedgwick County commissioners are already working to figure out what options are available. On Tuesday, the county’s local health officer recommended a mask requirement as a tool to slow the spread of COVID-19 as cases in the county continue to rise.

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