Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Bill Prompts Questions on Schools

GovernorBrownback signed Senate Substitute for House Bill 2052 earlier this week. Thisbill makes a number of changes to the regulation of firearms under the KansasPersonal and Family Protection Act. A number of questions have been raisedregarding this bill’s impact on school districts. School leaders may have heardincomplete media accounts or from individuals affiliated with other publicbodies that are affected in different ways. 

Here is asummary from KASB legal and advocacy staff on the key points in this bill:

1.     School districts are exempt from thenew security requirements for buildings.

HB2052 restricts state agencies and municipalities from prohibiting carrying aconcealed handgun by a licensed individual into a state or municipal buildingunless the  building has “adequatesecurity measures,” as defined below.

However,school districts are specifically exempt from the definition of municipalityand are not required to have the “adequate security measures” defined in thelaw to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons in schools.

2.     Postsecondary institutions, cities,counties and other public buildings are included.

Schoolleaders may be hearing about requirements imposed on other publicbuildings.  In order to prohibit carryingconcealed weapons, public buildings other than school district buildings mustadopt ‘‘adequate security measures.’’ These are defined as the use ofelectronic equipment and personnel at public entrances to detect and restrictthe carrying of any weapons into the state or municipal building, including,but not limited to, metal detectors, metal detector wands or any otherequipment used for similar purposes to ensure that weapons are not permitted tobe carried into such building by members of the public.

3.     Colleges may adopt a four-yearexemption from the new requirements.

Despiteinclusion under the new requirements, postsecondary institutions and certainother public bodies may get an exemption from these requirements for a periodof four years by stating the reasons for the exemption and sending notice of theexemption to the Kansas attorney general. Therefore, postsecondary institutions will have a grace period of fouryears before they are required to put these measures into effect.

4.     School boards and colleges areauthorized, but not required, to allow employees to carry concealed weapons.

Schoolboards may permit any employee licensed to carry a concealed handgun asauthorized by state law to carry a concealed handgun in any building of theinstitution. The employee must meet the institution’s own policy requirementsregardless of whether or not notice of prohibited concealed carry isconspicuously posted in the building.

Pleasenote that KASB believes school boards already had the authority to authorizeconcealed carry, but the new law clarifies this authority.

Thisauthority also applies to the governing body or chief administrative officer(if no governing body exits) of a postsecondary educational institution; astate or municipal-owned medical care facility; a state or municipal-ownedadult care home, a community mental health center; or an indigent health careclinic.  (These institutions are alsoeligible for the four-year exemption from the building security requirements.)

5.     The new law is effective July 1,2013.

Schoolboards are encouraged to consult with their local insurance carrier beforeauthorizing or adopting new policies related to this law.  Some insurance companies have voiced concernsabout coverage for school districts that allow concealed carry in theirbuildings.

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