TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Senators on Tuesday backed away from a contentious floor debate on the state’s concealed carry law, opting instead to send a bill back to committee that would allow several types of medical providers to ban guns in their facilities.
The measure would allow public hospitals and nursing homes, community mental health centers, low-income health clinics and the University of Kansas Hospital to ban guns in their facilities without having to place metal detectors and armed guards at each entrance. An amendment added on the floor would still allow people to carry if they had a concealed carry permit, but facilities would be able to prohibit gun owners that don’t have permits. It would specifically prohibit patients at state hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled from carrying guns.
Under a 2013 law the bill would partially roll back, those public buildings and university campuses can’t prohibit guns unless they allow for security measures.
Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Sen. Carolyn McGinn said sending the bill back to her committee could allow for previously stalled compromise negations between the University of Kansas Hospital and the National Rifle Association. Those talks, she said, had stopped until Senate leaders scheduled Tuesday’s debate.
Supporters of the 2013 law said it allows lawful gun owners to defend themselves. Opponents of the law contend it puts patients and students at risk of intentional and accidental shootings.
Some lawmakers have tried to roll back the policy for the health facilities and college campuses, but gun-rights groups have helped block them. The bill debated Tuesday still wouldn’t allow universities to ban guns.
House and Senate budget committees rejected a request from GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration for $24 million over two years to pay for security equipment and personnel at the state-owned hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.