Public health facilities in Kansas are urging lawmakers to grant an exemption to a new law set to take effect on July 1 that would require all public buildings to allow the concealed carry of guns. A Senate committee considered a bill Thursday that would exempt state hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities from having to allow guns unless they buy metal detectors and hire armed guards. Kimberly Lynch, attorney for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, says the department would have to spend more than $10 million a year to secure its four hospitals for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
Concealed carry advocates say citizens must be able to defend themselves wherever they are. Opponents worry about the cost of security and about mental patients getting their hands on a gun. Several other proposals, including one that would exempt college campuses, have failed to get out of committee this session.