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Brownback Not Rethinking Support For Campus Gun Law

Kansas News Service/File photo
Brownback speaks at a press conference.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he's not rethinking his support for a Kansas law that will allow concealed guns on state college campuses starting in July, despite opposition from faculty, students and administrators.

A law enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Brownback in 2013 expanded the rights of gun owners age 21 and older to carry concealed weapons into public buildings. It allowed state universities and community colleges to exempt themselves for four years.

Elections this year made the Legislature less conservative. After lawmakers open their annual session next month, they are expected to debate changing the concealed carry law for college campuses.

"I'm not inclined to think about that," Brownback told reporters after signing proclamations in his office, calling gun ownership "a constitutional right that people have."

The 2013 law allows concealed guns in public buildings unless they have adequate security measures, such as metal detectors or security guards. Those measures are costly, so concealed guns would be allowed in nearly all campus buildings, including at sporting events.

The state Board of Regents last week adopted policies for implementing the law on university campuses. The policies spell out requirements for handling guns while on campus and their storage in dormitories, offices and vehicles.

Faculty and student organizations on university campuses generally have been strongly opposed to concealed guns on campus, as have administrators. Earlier this month, elected representatives of faculty, staff and students at the University of Kansas adopted resolutions opposing the campus concealed carry law.

Joe Harrington, an English professor who is president of the University Senate at the school, called Brownback's comments "disappointing."

"Obviously, this is something that people at the local level, at the campus level, don't want and that's being imposed upon us by the state," Harrington said.

Brownback is a conservative Republican who's repeatedly backed policies favored by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups, including a 2015 law that allows adults to carry concealed weapons without a state permit or mandatory training.

"I'm not rethinking my support for the Second Amendment," Brownback said, referring to the U.S. Constitution.