TOPEKA, Kan. – On June 15, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback allowed the Kansas legislature to pass House Bill 2150 without his signature that exempts Kansas hospitals from the concealed carry law after the University of Kansas Health System lobbied for an exemption.
In 2013, Brownback signed a bill allowing concealed guns into public buildings. He gave college campuses, libraries and public hospitals until July of this year to either seek an exemption or obtain security measures, including metal detectors, that would allow them to ban guns. In February 2017, the University of Kansas Health System pushed for an exemption.
“We are hearing in very strong terms from our patients and staff we must continue to push for our exemption from the concealed weapons law,” said Bob Page, president and CEO of the University of Kansas Health System, in a news release.
Many hospital staff and patients were concerned for their safety and the threat that it might present.
“Our patients and visitors are under tremendous stress while at the hospital. Our staff deals with tense, emotionally charged situations daily,” Page said. “The option to have guns present in those situations could create significant safety issues.”
Besides safety, the cost of the security equipment that the health center would need to buy is unreasonable, as well as the added security personnel. Hospital officials said the cost of additional security measures needed would be expensive.
“The cost to secure this campus is an astronomical cost, and I will tell you that we will do whatever we need to do secure this campus, but every dollar we spend, in addition to what we’re already doing today, takes money away from patients,” Page said in a video released by the hospital. “It’s an inexcusable decision that we would have to make that over taking care of the patients that we’re responsible for their care.”
An additional concern of the hospital was that it’d be the only hospital in the KC Metro area that would allow for the concealed carry.
“It is unacceptable The University of Kansas Health System facilities will be the only hospital in the Kansas City area being forced to allow concealed weapons,” said Page in a news release by the University of Kansas Health System. “This will put us in a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace”
After Brownback allowed HB 2150 through without his signature, the president of the Nurse’s Association at the University of Kansas, Morteza Rabii, said in a Fox4 interview that she’s glad.
“For the patients,” Rabii said. “I think this is the best thing that could have happened.”
The concealed carry law will go into effect in other public places, including the University of Kansas campuses, come July 1.