The University of Kansas Hospital today will go it alone in trying to get the Legislature to roll back a law that would allow almost anyone to carry a concealed gun in almost any public building.
The hospital is backing a bill (HB 2150) that carves out the facility in Kansas City, Kansas, even if lawmakers decide to let the concealed carry bill take effect on July 1. The measure does not carve out the adjoining KU Medical Center campus.
“We’ve had patients calling us already to see if we are allowing people to bring guns in," KU Hospital CEO Bob Page said in a statement.
Page said allowing guns in the hospital would put it at a competitive disadvantage. "We’ve got staff that are worried about what the environment will look like on July 1 should people be allowed to being guns into our organization,” he said.
To make its case, KU commissioned a survey that shows an overwhelming majority of respondents want to keep concealed guns out of hospitals. Eighty-two percent say mental health facilities should be able to prohibit guns, 72 percent say hospitals should be allowed to ban guns from their buildings and 66 percent say public colleges should be allowed to prohibit concealed firearms.
Five hundred registered voters were surveyed in Wyandotte, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Atchison counties in July. Two hundred had cell phones. The survey has a margin of error of 4.3 percent, according to KU Hospital.
Even 52 percent of respondents who described themselves as "base GOP" voters said hospitals should be allowed to ban guns in their facilities.
There's been a major effort by newly elected Republican moderates and Democrats in the Legislature to roll back the law passed four years ago but which takes effect in July. They suffered a setback Tuesday when a Senate committee failed to report out a rollback bill.
But an almost identical bill is moving through the House. Those who want to roll back concealed carry never thought getting the bills though committee would be easy. They're banking on maneuvering the measures onto the floors for votes.
The Kansas State Rifle Association did not return a call seeking comment. But the group maintains that people who enter public buildings have the right to defend themselves with a firearm.