The Kansas legislature [official website] approved SB 235 [text, PDF] on Thursday exempting state mental hospitals, community mental health centers and the University of Kansas Health System‘s [official website] hospitals from a previously passed law allowing people to carry concealed firearms in such facilities. The bill was written in response to a National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] backed law passed [NYT report] in 2013. Under the 2013 law, hospitals would have been forced to permit concealed weapons on their premises unless they provided and paid for preventative measures such as metal detectors. Officials with the university health system said [Kansas City Star report] providing security would be costly to hospitals and allowing concealed weapons to be on premises would impact employment recruiting. After debating the legislation for more than four hours, the Senate approved the bill 24-16 and the house affirmed in a 91-33 vote. The bill will next pass to Governor Sam Brownback [official website] for his consideration.
Gun ownership and carry rights have become an increasingly prevalent issue. In April Iowa Governor Terry Branstad [official website] signed legislation [JURIST report] expanding gun rights in the state. In March North Dakota Governor Burgum signed a “constitutional carry” handgun bill [JURIST report] into law. Earlier that week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law [JURIST report] a bill allowing individuals over the age of 21 to get enhanced concealed carry permits which will allow them to carry concealed weapons at public colleges, airports, polling places, sporting events, some state offices and the state capitol. In February the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill that would repeal the law [JURIST report] prohibiting state citizens from carrying concealed firearms without a permit. Earlier in February the US House of Representatives voted to repeal [text, PDF] an Obama-era gun regulation that required mental health information to be shared with the national gun background check system. In December Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 199 [JURIST report], making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and onto college campuses. Last September the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit restored [JURIST report] gun ownership rights of individuals convicted of minor crimes. Earlier that month the New Jersey Second Amendment Society filed [JURIST report] a lawsuit against the state’s Attorney General in New Jersey’s district court alleging the state’s stun gun ban is unconstitutional.