A proposal to let school districts and state colleges designate employees who can carry concealed weapons and another to expand the number of public buildings where concealed weapons are permitted passed the Kansas House with broad support Thursday.
Another measure declaring that the federal government cannot regulate firearms manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas also was approved. But lawmakers readily acknowledged such a law would be challenged as unconstitutional because federal law trumps state law.
All three measures now head to the Senate.
The school district and state college proposal would allow the institutions to choose employees who could carry concealed firearms inside their buildings, even if such weapons were banned for others. The bill was approved 84-35.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a Hutchinson Republican, said some senators are “very apprehensive” about language in that bill. But he noted that a Senate committee was reviewing gun rights measures and pledged that the chamber would give them serious consideration.
The proposal to expand the number of public buildings where people could bring concealed weapons includes the statehouse.
However, Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat who got the statehouse added to the bill, said a drafting error inadvertently allowed open carry of weapons in the building.
“This is not an insignificant mistake,” Wilson said in explaining his vote against the bill.
The measure to disallow federal regulation of Kansas firearms, which was approved 94-29, arose over concerns that federal authorities would confiscate firearms as they tighten regulations after the mass school shooting in Connecticut.
However, even Rep. Lance Kinzer, a backer of the measure, suggested the law may face court challenges. The Olathe Republican said legislators should be careful about promising to stand up to the federal government on similar issues.
Rep. Bob Grant, a Frontenac Democrat, suggested the real motive for the bill was to use any “no” votes against lawmakers in future elections.