Jayhawk fans, welcome to your new reality, courtesy of the Kansas Legislature.
Attending a basketball or football game will now include the time-consuming indignity of being herded through long lines before passing through metal detectors or having your body scanned by a guard with a hand-held wand.
This goes for you, too, Wildcats and Shockers. Anyone who attends a sporting event attracting more than 5,000 people at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University will be subjected to new protocols to enter stadiums and arenas.
Don’t bother bringing a favorite satchel emblazoned with your team’s logo. They’re no longer allowed. Only clear containers. Apparently, plastic bags are not just for sandwiches anymore. They’ll be necessary to carry your lipstick, medication, a wallet — the stuff that folks might wish to tote.
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It’s for your own safety.
Or so legislators insist. All of this unnecessary hassle is the handiwork of Kansas lawmakers who decided to allow concealed carry in public buildings. The only way to keep guns out of basketball games is to install security measures and staff at entrances. That comes at a price, of course. For the KU athletic department, metal detectors and equipment will total about $1 million.
Again, this is for your own safety.
The Legislature’s mindset doesn’t allow for common-sense concerns about passionate fans wielding weapons. Or the simple reality that accidents happen. A gun firing in a packed stadium, or even being seen, could cause panic.
Kansas legislators passed the bill allowing concealed weapons in all public buildings in 2013, but a four-year waiver bought the universities some time. On July 1, the law goes into effect. The Kansas Board of Regents had to act this week and passed the rules for sporting events.
Representatives and senators haven’t mustered the courage to make any exceptions. That forces sports fans to shuffle through metal detectors and also leaves the University of Kansas Health System in an untenable bind. Hospital officials so far have been unsuccessful in convincing the Legislature to exempt their campus.
There are more than a 100 entrances and exits at the sprawling grounds that include the University of Kansas Hospital and the array of buildings that house specialty centers devoted to just about every facet of medicine. The costs would be prohibitive to secure each one.
And it is unworkable to expect a mother in labor or a patient having a heart attack to first stop, be frisked and then proceed to the emergency room.
But none of those real-life situations moved the Legislature. This is all for your own safety.