TOPEKA — A state lawmaker said he will try again to push through a law allowing concealed firearms to be carried on college campuses.
The effort to allow guns on campus was supported by the House during the 2010 legislative session, but died in the Senate.
Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said he intends to try again to push through such legislation when the 2011 session begins in January. His proposal would allow Kansans with concealed-carry permits to bring their weapons into public buildings if those buildings aren't equipped with security measures such as metal detectors and guards.
"My plan is to move that forward," he said. "We will revise it somewhat and try to deal with situations, realistic situations, in public buildings.
"If you deny my right to provide for my own security, then you need to provide for my security."
Regents chairman Gary Sherrer said the board thinks having weapons-free campuses creates the safest environments.
"Having 18- and 19-year-olds, places where emotions run high and people like to have a good time, and you add that in with weapons, we don't think that creates a safer environment, and I don't think most of the parents would think that creates a safer environment," he said.
Knox's bill specified that no state agency or municipality could prohibit employees from carrying a concealed weapon in the building if it lacked adequate security.
Supporters of the bill included the National Rifle Association and the Kansas State Rifle Association. The League of Kansas Municipalities, Kansas Association of Counties and Kansas Peace Officers Association opposed the measure.
Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said cities and counties raised concerns about the cost of providing security in buildings to ensure guns wouldn't be permitted. He hasn't taken a position on whether Knox's proposal is appropriate, but said he hoped legislators would be "thoughtful and reasonable" when considering the issue.
Kansas passed its concealed-carry law in 2006, with the first permits issued in January 2007. Applicants have to pay a $132.50 fee and receive eight hours of firearms training to receive a permit.
Legislators approved revisions in 2010 to the law, including streamlining the application and background check process.