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Disappointing, but not surprising

By The Mercury

If Kansas lawmakers insist on allowing people to carry concealed firearms at the University of Kansas Medical Center, there’s virtually no chance the Legislature will prohibit them on college or university campuses.

That’s unfortunate, because concealed weapons don’t belong at any of those places.

A tie vote Wednesday on a measure in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to ban concealed carry at the KU Medical Center doomed what was perhaps the best chance opponents had of preventing adults from being allowed to carry concealed weapons into hospitals or on college campuses.

It’s not surprising, but it’s nevertheless disappointing that Kansans trying to undo provisions of state laws that had expanded concealed carry to college campuses, hospitals and mental health clinics — and all but eliminated restrictions on adults carrying concealed weapons — have been unsuccessful at every turn. Earlier this session, a Senate committee turned away a broader bill.

They can take some consolation in being able to defeat efforts Wednesday by gun rights’ advocates to require landlords of government subsidized housing to allow tenants to have guns and to require private businesses in developments financed even in part with state sales tax money to allow concealed weapons in their businesses.

As have so many other debates about guns, the vote to keep concealed weapons out of the KU Med Center came down to arguments about the Second Amendment and public safety. The victors Wednesday said that the Second Amendment gives them the right to take their guns into the medical center and that guns in the hands of decent people there and elsewhere would make other people safer. The alternate argument is that Second Amendment rights are not absolute, that hospitals already are safe and that bringing guns into them enhances risks, not safety.

To be fair, hospitals and colleges have had an alternative to having to permit the presence of concealed weapons. Those include additional personnel and scanners that could detect weapons at every entrance of every building. But as the writers of the Family and Personal Protection Act surely knew when they introduced it, such security measures at universities and hospitals would be so expensive as to be alternatives in name only.

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