An evenly divided Kansas House committee shut down legislation exempting KU Medical Center from adding adequate security measures in order to prohibit concealed weapons on its premises. The fed and state affairs committee split 11-11 on the bill, and the committee chair John Barker, R-Abilene, declined to cast a tie-breaking vote, killing the proposal.
Rep. Louis Ruiz was born and raised in the area near KU Med Center. He told the committee that Democrats value the Second Amendment. The Kansas City, Kansas, Democrat said he owns a gun, but feels safe walking in the area without one. Ruiz urged lawmakers to tour the hospital and examine the security measures already in place. Allowing guns will make recruiting staff and patients difficult, he warned.
“People think about their healthcare needs first, not if the facility allows weapons,” Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, said.
Augusta Republican Rep. Kristey Williams noted that KUMC could prohibit weapons if the facility provided adequate security to limit all guns. She said a sign is not enough. Carpenter echoed the sentiment.
“A sticker on a window will not prevent anyone from entering facilities,” he said.
In January, a Senate committee stalled similar legislation to allow public universities to prohibit concealed weapons without providing adequate security measures.