A bill that would enable Kansas community colleges and public universities to continue to bar guns from their campuses has been introduced by a Johnson County lawmaker.
Under current law, public colleges will have to open their campuses to concealed firearms starting in July. Kansas passed a law in 2013 that enabled people to bring guns into public buildings. Public universities and community colleges are exempt from that law until July 2017.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, formally introduced legislation Tuesday that would indefinitely extend that exemption, allowing Wichita State University and other colleges to continue to restrict firearms on campus.
Clayton said there is a need to revisit the policy because Kansas scrapped its training requirements for conceal and carry in 2015. She said those changes mean lawmakers should have another review of whether to allow guns on campuses.
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“Our concealed carry laws were different. You had to get a license. You had to jump through all of these hoops in order to carry a concealed weapon. Now everyone can have a gun, and it doesn’t matter (if they’ve had training),” Clayton said.
Kansas is one of a handful of states that does not require a person to undergo training in order to carry a concealed weapon.
In addition to universities, Clayton’s bill will enable community mental health centers and municipally owned medical facilities to prohibit firearms. The University of Kansas Medical Center would also be allowed to prohibit guns.
Gov. Sam Brownback, who signed the 2013 bill, said Tuesday that he’s still a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. When asked about a possible compromise on the campus carry law, he said he was open to seeing what the Legislature does this session.
“We’ll look at whatever people bring forward in the process,” Brownback said. “You know I like to let the process play out. But my view of the Second Amendment hasn’t changed.”
Contributing: Hunter Woodall of Kansas City Star