The Kansas Board of Regents has set a policy for the institutions it governs, disallowing concealed carry of handguns on campuses.
Now comes the Kansas House of Representatives to debate a measure that would put that decision in the hands of local university administrators. Those, of course, are the folks who recommended the statewide policy to the regents, and who would have to buck their overseers to implement it on any specific campus. So that’s going to happen!
Regardless, Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, says he didn’t want to leave that decision to the regents. “It disallows the freedom of any particular university,” he said.
Under a measure approved by the Federal and State Affairs Committee, the full House of Representatives now will consider letting public schools and state universities designate employees who are authorized to carry concealed weapons to have them on campus and in buildings — even though state law prohibits other licensed individuals from legally bringing their weapons into those same school buildings.
The legislation also would require the state, cities, counties and townships to allow concealed guns in their buildings unless they have electronic equipment and officers to check for weapons at public entrances.
The bill would allow state institutions of higher education, government-owned hospitals and nursing homes to continue to ban guns for the next four years without meeting the security check requirement; school boards and university presidents, as noted, could designate employees who would be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
Supporters contend the legislation will make schools and universities safer by giving control to local officials. Others call it very risky, and still others, such as the lobbyist for the Unified Government of Kansas City and Wyandotte County, note it gives local governments an unpalatable choice: Either spend considerable money for security monitoring staff and equipment or make their public buildings wide open for concealed carry.
The thinking behind this legislation is indicative of the same stampede mentality that has led to record numbers of applications for Kansas concealed-carry permits, and to sellouts of weapons and ammunition at stores across the state. It’s unhealthy. Everyone needs to stop and take a breath before proceeding on gun legislation this session.