State universities, hospitals and nursing homes would still be able to ban guns from their buildings under a bill given tentative approval Friday by the House.
But the proposed law, which faces a final vote Monday before moving to a Senate committee, would let people with concealed carry permits take guns into many other government-owned buildings, such as city halls and county courthouses, unless those buildings have metal detectors and guards at all public entrances.
HB 2353, the Personal and Family Protection Act, drew strong opposition from the Kansas Board of Regents and university police departments, who said any increase in guns on campuses could increase the risk of violence, create theft problems and lead to fewer students calling authorities when they suspect someone is carrying a weapon.
Their arguments apparently swayed lawmakers, who let them continue to ban weapons.
Second Amendment advocates say criminals won’t obey the “no gun” signs posted at doorways, and law-abiding citizens have the right to protect themselves from those people.
The bill also seeks to make sure private property owners and the government won’t be liable for wrongful acts if they allow concealed carry and a shooting occurs.
Rep. Forrest Knox, a Republican from Altoona,
acknowledged that some people with concealed carry permits have caused problems, but he said licensees tend to follow the law more than other groups do.
“We can trust conceal carry holders,” he said.
Rep. Ann Mah, a Topeka Democrat, said the proposal would force many cash-strapped local governments to buy metal detectors and hire guards if they want to keep guns out of their buildings.
“If we think we need to be a nanny legislature, then we need to get our checkbooks out and pay for it,” she said.