Here’s the solution to the problems posed by the Kansas law that would allow concealed guns in many public buildings and on college campuses starting July 1:
Repeal the law in the next few weeks.
Lawmakers certainly should not require taxpayers to spend tens of millions of dollars to keep the guns out of some public buildings through security measures such as armed guards and metal detectors.
Give thanks to stumbling, bumbling Gov. Sam Brownback for reigniting the debate over this issue as the veto session gets ready to start Monday.
On Thursday, Brownback revealed that he wants $24 million for security measures — including hiring about 180 armed people — to keep guns out of only four state hospitals over the next two years.
The request stunned lawmakers who wanted to know why this was dumped in their laps.
“I think it was pretty apparent there has been no planning and no real effort to get prepared for July 1. There’s no training program in place,” pointed out Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, a Kansas City Democrat.
On Friday, state senators heard more about how expensive and time-consuming the plan would be.
— Jonathan Shorman (@jonshorman) April 28, 2017
Note: It would take “a minimum of 10 months” to get up to speed to provide security at Larned and Osawatomie state hospitals, plus two other public institutions.
The sudden Brownback budget buster from Thursday belied what some Republicans have said before about meeting the July 1 deadline to allow guns everywhere or get prepared to keep them out of public buildings.
In January, state Sen. Jacob LaTurner of Pittsburg had said, “I’m comfortable with the vote that I made in 2013. I think it allowed enough time for folks to make accommodations.”
As the inept Brownback proved Thursday, that was not the case.
Of course, the Legislature can take the easy way out and vote to prohibit guns in public hospitals — if their overlords at the National Rifle Association will let them.
But that would not solve the bigger problem of allowing guns to be carried on college campuses starting July 1.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican and author of a bill to permanently exempt college campuses and some medical institutions from the 2013 law, offered a good solution when I talked to her Friday.
She said the Legislature should have a “full, open debate on the floor” on this issue.
Clayton is right. That needs to happen, and soon.