A bill that would allow public colleges and universities and medical centers in Kansas to continue to prohibit firearms, despite a 2013 law that permits the concealed carry of handguns in all public buildings, was shot down by a Kansas Senate committee Tuesday, reports The Wichita Eagle.
Republican Senator Jacob LaTurner, who chairs the committee, opposed the bill, saying, “I’m comfortable with the vote that I made in 2013. I think it allowed enough time for folks to make accommodations.”
The 2013 law – known as the Public Building Security Act, which amended Kansas’ Personal and Family Protection Act – legalized concealed carry in all public buildings. However, public colleges and universities had the option to be exempt from the law until July 2017.
In preparation for the upcoming deadline, some colleges and universities drafted – and even approved – policies on how to implement the law.
A few lawmakers, on the other hand, were drafting bills to extend the exemption.
Senate Bill 53, which was introduced late last month, aimed to make public colleges and universities, as well as medical centers, permanently exempt from the law.
Unfortunately for gun-control activists, the bill didn’t make it very far, and was rejected by the Senate committee on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed that they sided with the extremist gun lobby instead of the students, faculty and concerned parents who testified just days ago,” Jo Ella Hoye, spokeswoman for the Kansas chapter of Moms Demand Action, a gun control group, told The Wichita Eagle.
Hoye added that while this is a setback, it is not the end. Moms Demand Action is still rooting for House Bill 2024, a similar bill that had a House committee hearing on Wednesday. Reports on the hearing have not yet been released.
HB 2024 demands public colleges and universities in Kansas be exempt from the 2013 law, indefinitely.
Republican state Representative Stephanie Clayton who supports the bill believes lawmakers should reconsider the 2013 law now that the state allows constitutional carry, which was passed in 2015.
While Moms Demand Action is disappointed that SB53 was rejected, the Kansas State Rifle Association is thrilled.
In a statement, the group said it is “thrilled to see Kansas Senators fighting to defend self-defense rights of responsible adults on our campuses.”
It went on to say that, “Kansans overwhelmingly support the 2nd Amendment, as written, and it’s exciting to see that position defended by the Kansas Senate today.”