GOP Kansas governor scrambles to protect psych hospitals from his own party’s new gun law
A new gun law that’s set to go into effect this July would allow guns to be brought into the state’s psychiatric hospitals — unless, that is, lawmakers come up with $24 million to prevent it.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has requested $24 million to pay for proper security at the state’s hospitals to make sure that no guns are allowed in the buildings, including the state’s two psychiatric hospitals.
Among other things, the request asks for funding for metal detectors to be installed in the hospitals, and also asks to hire 180 armed security guards to help ensure no guns are brought into the hospitals.
The reason that Kansas has to spend so much money to keep guns out of hospitals is a new provision in the state’s concealed carry law that is set to take effect on July 1 this year. According to the Associated Press, the law requires “such facilities to allow concealed guns inside starting July 1 if the buildings don’t have extra security measures such as guards and metal detectors.”
The state government could avoid having to spend money to beef up hospital security if it amended the law to exempt hospitals from the provision’s requirements — but the Wichita Eagle notes that the Kansas State Rifle Association “has opposed exempting hospitals from the current law,” which has made it a political nonstarter for many lawmakers. Additionally, lawmakers are uncertain if Brownback would sign off on such changes.
“Considering the muscle the NRA is willing to flex, I think override is what becomes very difficult,” said Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, a Democrat who represents Kansas City.