Kansas Legislature passes half-assed gun bill

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Kansas lawmakers are daring Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill they passed Thursday, which would continue to ban guns from mental health and public hospitals.

That’s the least the Legislature could do.

Unfortunately, they haven’t also approved a bill that would continue to ban firearms from being carried on college campuses.

Instead, unless a sudden show of backbone by lawmakers occurs, the 2013 law that will allow weapons to be toted on campuses likely will take effect as scheduled on July 1.

What a travesty.

Thursday’s vote was a common sense way to prevent hospitals such as the local University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kan., from being gun-carrying zones on July 1.

It also was a financially sensible move to make. Kansas taxpayers likely would be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in payments for security at mental health institutions and hospitals to legally keep guns out of the buildings in the future.

“It’s the safest thing for patients,” Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, said of Thursday’s measure. “Which should always be what our number one priority is.”

Agreed.

But by the same token, you could have inserted the words “college students” in Bollier’s comments, and that would have been 100 percent accurate, too.

To be clear, Bollier correctly has ripped Brownback for his continued insistence that weapons should be allowed on college campuses. “This is a public health issue,” Bollier said back in December.

True, and it still is — in hospitals and on campuses.

Unfortunately, too many Republicans like the governor have bought into the simpleton idea that people need to “defend themselves” with firearms 24 hours a day, almost no matter where they are.

So what will Brownback do with the exemption passed Thursday for public hospitals?

Like the spineless “leader” he is, Brownback refused to tell the public his position on the issue earlier in the day.

The House passed the bill with a veto-proof majority, but the Senate did not. It came close with 24 votes; 27 would be needed to override.

So now Kansans wait.

 

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