Politics & Government

Effort to block concealed carry at KU hospital fails on tie vote

The Wichita Eagle

A bill that would have allowed the University of Kansas Medical Center to block concealed carry on its campus failed on Wednesday.

HB 2150 would have exempted the medical center in Kansas City from a law requiring that state universities allow concealed handguns on their campuses – starting in July – unless adequate security measures are in place.

The final vote in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee was 11-11. Committee Chairman Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, did not cast a vote to break the tie, meaning the bill stalled.

Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby, said it would have put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage compared to “those that have ill intentions toward them.”

“A sticker on a window will not prevent anyone from entering facilities,” Carpenter said.

Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-Kansas City, said he feels safe walking around the campus, which is in his district. He said scientists, physicians and students are nervous about the exemption being lifted at the campus.

“They’re living that. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact,” he said.

Amendments failed

An amendment proposed by Barker that would have exempted hospitals, nursing homes and mental health centers from concealed carry failed on a voice vote.

“Limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens in this manner is not the solution,” said Rep. Trevor Jacobs, R-Fort Scott.

Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, proposed an amendment to require buildings that have been constructed using STAR bonds to allow visitors to carry concealed weapons.

“As long the taxpayers are still subsidizing the facility, I think that the public should be able to have access to that facility without a restriction of their Second Amendment rights,” Whitmer said.

That amendment failed on a vote of 9-13. Rep. Melissa Rooker, R-Fairway, said it would have taken away the right of private businesses to choose whether to allow concealed carry.

“This amendment is going to force the issue on them. It goes beyond what I think is appropriate,” Rooker said.

An amendment by Carpenter would have prevented buildings that receive public housing subsidies from blocking concealed carry. That failed by a 10-11 vote.

“We’re telling landlords what they can and can’t do on their property,” said Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence.

Daniel Salazar: 316-269-6791, @imdanielsalazar