“A Senate committee took direct aim at influential gun lobby groups Tuesday by modifying a bill to exempt public hospitals and mental health facilities from a state law allowing concealed weapons in facilities without metal detectors and security personnel at entrances.
Action during a brief meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee stripped from House Bill 2278 an amendment added last week by Sen. Ed Berger, R-Hutchinson, that would enable individuals with conceal-carry permits to covertly possess firearms at Larned State Hospital, Osawatomie State Hospital, Parsons State Hospital and Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka.
The committee’s vote took the bill back to a form in which those four state hospitals, the University of Kansas Health System, adult care homes and community mental health facilities wouldn’t be required to adhere to the 2013 Kansas law opening public buildings to carriers of concealed guns after July 1.
Lobbyists with the National Rifle Association and the Kansas State Rifle Association oppose modification of the 4-year-old law because public facilities have a duty to “allow conceal carry or provide adequate security.”
The Senate committee’s maneuver is designed to focus narrowly on health facilities, said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, the Sedgwick Republican who chairs the Ways and Means Committee.
Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, said lives could be saved by broadening the exemption to include buildings at public universities, which operate residential dormitories, sports facilities and child care centers.”