Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2017

Editorial: Gun decisions

A bill in the Kansas Senate that would allow local entities to ban guns is wise from the standpoint of both security and finances.

January 29, 2017

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Public entities in Kansas should retain the leeway to determine if concealed handguns should be banned from their facilities. Senate Bill 53 would allow this and should be approved.

In 2013, lawmakers approved a bill requiring that concealed weapons be allowed in most public buildings unless the building is equipped with adequate security to ensure that nobody can bring a weapon inside.

Public colleges and universities, along with cities and counties and other public entities, were allowed to exempt themselves from that law for four years. The exemption expires July 1. Senate Bill 53 repeals the expiration date, effectively leaving the exemption in place indefinitely.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill on Thursday and a standing room only crowd turned out to speak, mostly in favor of Senate Bill 53. Most of the supporters were from Kansas colleges and universities.

“I am in full support of this bill because I don’t want to get shot,” said Megan Jones, a graduate student and instructor at the University of Kansas. “I don’t want to watch someone else get shot. I don’t want to wonder if a guy sitting in my classroom is pulling out a cellphone or a firearm.”

Jones is right. It’s hard to fathom how the KU campus is made safer by allowing students and faculty to carry guns to class and inside other buildings on campus.

Travis Couture-Lovelady, a former Republican state representative who is now a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, testified Thursday against Senate Bill 53, saying that current law is a compromise, allowing public entities to enforce a ban by implementing adequate security at public buildings to ensure no weapons can get inside. He said public entities have had four years to come up with a plan.

But Couture-Lovelady ignores the cost of implementing such security measures. City Manager Tom Markus has already said it would be cost prohibitive to implement security equipment and/or personnel at the approximately 50 public buildings the city oversees. Imagine how costly such security would be for KU buildings. And given that the cash-strapped state of Kansas has been in cut-and-slash mode the past four years, the concealed carry law amounts to an unfunded mandate for public agencies that want to reasonably restrict where guns can be carried.

Though colleges and universities were the most outspoken Thursday, several other organizations support Senate Bill 53, including the League of Kansas Municipalities, the Kansas Association of Counties and the Kansas Hospital Association. That’s a pretty strong lineup of supporters. Such deep support will be needed to take on the lobbying strength of the NRA.

Senate Bill 53 makes sense financially and it makes sense from a security standpoint. It should be approved.

Comments

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I am opposed to SB 53 from the stand point that it tries to give back control of firearms from the state, to local authorities. I want our state legislature to decide about carry on college campuses, hospitals, etc. should they wish to re-examine the subject. It took many years for the state to do away with the patchwork of gun laws in cities, and counties and give it to the state where it belongs. Whatever decision is reached should be uniform across the state of KS.

Bob Smith 5 months, 3 weeks ago

"... I don’t want to wonder if a guy sitting in my classroom is pulling out a cellphone or a firearm..." That's the state of affairs right now, Megan.

Armatus Rebbellio 5 months, 3 weeks ago

No. You don't want to have to worry about that. So you seek to disarm the law abiding, those that are less likely to commit a crime than most, and turn a blind eye to the person who will ignore the law and will pull the gun instead of the cell phone. But you FEEL safe. FEELING safe is important. You don't want to have to think about the fact that you may not actually BE safe.

Andrew Applegarth 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I am sick and tired of the dishonesty from those who only want criminals to be armed!

"Public entities in Kansas should retain the leeway to determine if concealed handguns should be banned from their facilities."

Guess what. The current allows allows just that. Be honest and admit that what you don't like is that the current law requires these public entities to actually do so instead of just giving it lip service. It requires that you actually disarm the criminals as well as the law abiding. If you truly don't want guns in your facility you should be advocating for metal detectors and guards with or without the current law. If you are just advocating for little plastic signs, you are delusional; a clear and present danger to the safety of those who find it necessary to enter those facilities.

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