Kansas moved a step closer to allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public buildings - such as courthouses - and to some extent in schools, when a committee approved the measure Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Under the bill, public schools and colleges in the state could designate certain people to carry concealed guns. This would be allowed even if the school bans weapons in their buildings.
The bill would also require the state, cities and counties, to allow concealed weapons unless they provide electronic equipment and officers to check for weapons at public entrances. Employees would also be able to carry concealed weapons.
One sheriff, T. Walton of Harvey County, said the bill takes away local control. He said it also will be very expensive for counties and cities to install and man equipment if they want to keep weapons out of their buildings.
The bill would allow colleges, hospitals and nursing homes, to prohibit guns for four years.
Proponents say it will make people safer.
Opponents say it is risky because it could create dangerous situations.
The committee has already passed a measure that would prohibit the federal government from regulating firearms and weapons made in Kansas.
Rep. Brett Hildebrand, R-Shawnee, was quoted in the Associated Press as saying the goal is to make sure law abiding citizens are not "unfairly denied the right to carry concealed weapons by local or state officials who do not support the policy."
Mike Taylor, a lobbyist for the city of Kansas City, said the measure "coerces or forces us to allow concealed carry."
Walton said his concern is if people who are involved in emotional cases - such as child custody - are carrying concealed weapons in the courthouse.