Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is asking for more than $24 million to add extra security measures to state psychiatric hospitals so that guns can be banned from the buildings.
The Wichita Eagle reported Brownback, in a budget proposal released Thursday, is seeking $12.5 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and $11.7 million for the next fiscal year to beef up security measures at the facilities.
Under state law, guns will be allowed in public hospitals and on college campuses starting July 1. However, guns can be banned from buildings that have metal detectors and armed guards at entrances.
Brownback’s proposal includes a one-time cost of $810,000 for metal detectors and an annual cost of $11.7 million for 180 full-time armed guards to be posted at the hospitals.
Some lawmakers were not too happy with the proposal, frustrated at the timing and worried the metal detectors would not be put in place by July 1. Some also voiced concerns that there were no funds allocated for firearms training classes.
“I think it was pretty apparent there has been no planning and no real effort to get prepared for July 1,” Democrat Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore said. “There’s no training program in place.”
“If we’re going to train existing personnel who are not authorized to carry now, they’re going to have to get into training. We’re going to have to pay for that before the fiscal year is up,” Republican Sen. Vicki Schmidt said.
So far all attempts to change the law have failed in the Kansas Legislature. The Kansas State Rifle Association has opposed banning guns from state hospitals, while Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said a majority of the Legislature would support exempting state psychiatric hospitals from allowing concealed firearms.
“Give them an exemption, let the signs stay up and have that feeling that there are no guns on mental health campuses,” Denning said.