Kansas Sen.-elect Barbara Bollier was steaming when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m mad. I’m upset,” she said, referring to Gov. Sam Brownback’s comments earlier in the day that he supports the Kansas law that will allow people to carry concealed guns on college campuses starting July 1 in the Sunflower State.
Brownback needs to listen to the people of Kansas, said Bollier, a Republican from Mission Hills who’s leaving her House seat to join the Senate next month. They aren’t in favor of guns on campuses, she said. Indeed, surveys show overwhelming majorities of faculty and staff oppose the law.
“This is a public health issue,” Bollier said. “I want this in bold.”
Mixing guns, alcohol and college-age students together is risky, she said.
She and other opponents also make the point that some parents won’t let their children attend the University of Kansas or other institutions if the campus-carry law takes effect. Plus, some faculty members at the schools as well as physicians at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., could leave Kansas if students and others start carrying guns.
That makes the campus-carry law an economic development issue, which could increase the brain drain from the Sunflower State.
When the 2017 legislative session starts in January, Bollier said she hopes to stop the law from taking effect at every campus. Instead, she told me, each campus should have the right to decide what it wants to do about the issue.
That’s not a complete ban (which I would strongly favor), which might give political cover to lawmakers in some House and Senate districts so they can pass Bollier’s legislation.
Other lawmakers also are talking about somehow stopping the law from taking effect, though even some critics think that will be tough to do.
Brownback defended his stance on the campus-carry law Wednesday by saying, “I’m not re-thinking my support for the Second Amendment.”
That’s misleading. No one is asking him to give up on his NRA-directive to back the Second Amendment. Instead, he and the Legislature at the very least should approve reasonable restrictions on where guns can be carried.
The issue is similar to smoking, said Bollier, which is perfectly legal but also is prohibited by law in certain places, such as many bars and restaurants. Why? Smoking affects the health of others, just as carrying a gun on campus would have the potential to do.
Will the Republican-controlled Legislature pass a bill and avoid a Brownback veto?
Bollier said Brownback should do what he’s done many times before: Sign laws and call them the “will of the people” because the Legislature passed them.
The first priority is to stop the current law from taking effect July 1.