Over the objections of Second Amendment advocates, Gov. Sam Brownback allowed a gun bill to become law without his signature on June 15. HB 2278 grants to public hospitals and mental health facilities an exemption from implementing security measures to keep concealed guns out of the buildings or allowing law abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons. It will allow hospitals to prohibit concealed weapons.
Moriah Day, a board member for the Kansas State Rifle Association, said his organization lobbied against the legislation from the start of the session.
“It really came down to the Governor’s choice whether he would veto or let it become law. In the end, he didn’t veto as we had asked,” Day said.
Brownback said in a statement that the bill appropriately addresses safety concerns at mental health hospitals.
“Working to secure Second Amendment rights, while balancing logistical and safety concerns from state mental health hospitals, I assembled stakeholders to forge a solution. I endorsed an agreement that accomplished this goal. While second amendment advocates concurred, this reasonable compromise was ultimately rejected by health care representatives,” Brownback said.
Though disappointed, Day said KSRA successfully fought attempts to prohibit concealed weapons on public university campuses.
“We were able to stop t lot of other very anti-gun measures some were trying to push. In the end, I think we ended up in a pretty good position,” Day said.
Lawmakers may attempt to repeal campus carry laws during the 2018 session, but those efforts will be more difficult next year. An exemption that allowed public universities to prohibit guns expires at the end of this month, allowing lawful concealed carry on campuses beginning July 1.
“Once it becomes law, I think it will be obvious that it’s not dangerous for law abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves,” Day said.