The debate that has swept the country has now made it to the steps of state capitols and not everyone is excited about the idea. Kansas may join 11 other states allowing some civilians to carry guns inside the state capitol which most states restrict the practice to member of the state legislature while Texas allows anyone to carry inside the building. However opponents say that civilians carrying guns make them feel endangered, while gun enthusiasts see it as exercising their Second Amendment rights. Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) told Huff Post that, “The law enforcement in the Capitol should be done by the state troopers and not by members of the Legislature. I feel less safe. Even though someone has gone through training, sometimes it is better to move away from danger. Get the appropriate security there. The chance he will shoot an innocent person is high. It concerns me if someone wants to be a hero.” Eight states allow civilians to carry concealed weapons in their capitol buildings and three states say they allow guns in capitols but gave no specifics reported Morgan Cullen, a program analyst at the National Conference of State Legislature. Texas allows anyone to carry a concealed pistol with a permit to bypass metal detectors at the capitol as Texas state Rep. Jonathan Strickland (R-Bedford) told the New York Times that he wears his gun routinely and people are used to guns in Texas. Coleman sees it as a problem even though concealed carry permits require background checks as he explains, “Background checks mean that nothing has occurred in the past, it does not mean it could not happen.” Kansas state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told Huff Post he is not concerned with concealed carry permits bringing guns because they have to undergo background checks. An example of things going horribly wrong is the shooting death of New York City Councilman James Davis (D) in 2003 inside City Council chambers by his political opponent, Othniel Askew, who legally purchased his gun and was able to under City Hall rules to bypass metal detectors. The Kansas plan adopted by the state House carries specific stipulations as state Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) explains that the bill allows concealed carry guns in other public building not the Capitol. He also commented he is not in favor of guns in public places. Unfortunately the bill was passed before discovering an error in the written amendment allowing people to openly carry guns in the Capitol instead of the concealed carry which now leaves the decision up to the state Senate. Arizona state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) told Huff Post he has a problem with guns in the Capitol as he explains, “I’m a gun owner and I have no problem with gun ownership. But I don’t think that there is a need to carry them to the floor.” Only time will tell if such laws are effective or a complete disaster.
Even though the nation is now up to its eyeballs in the sequester and gun control on a national level has been put on hold, the debate has now been taken up by the states. Safety will always be a concern no matter where you go because according to the Second Amendment supporters Americans have the right to carry weapons either conceal or not depending on the state. The only places we do not have guns are actually almost everywhere so the solution some people think will work is more guns more safety especially after the Sandy Hook shooting. The problem is not enough guns, the problem is not enough regulation and enforcement. Putting, not more guns, but guns in the school will only add to the problem not the solution and unfortunately gun violence cannot be completely prevented in this country unless their is a complete ban on weapons totally, but have no fear gun toting Americans and NRA you will always have the second amendment to cling to (even though you don’t fully understand what it means).
A Kansas legislative committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow concealed guns in public building and allow teachers to carry guns at school. State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) who presented the guns for teacher amendment said the measure gives school board the discretion to implement it as well as decide who specifically are allowed to carry a gun. According to Huff Post who spoke with state Rep. Travis Couture Lovelady (R-Palco), he commented that, “It is an excellent bill and a great step forward. With these gun-free zones and what we have seen around the country, they are a target for mentally ill people to do mass harm to folks…They are having the opposite effect. It is putting the public at risk. The only people following the law are the law abiding citizens who are potential victims. If we empower them to defend themselves they can.” Hildabrand also commented that,”If someone goes into a school with the intent of a mass murder and knows that there is no law abiding person who can fight back, they would be more willing. If they don’t know if someone would shoot back it creates hesitation.”
However, not everyone agreed with the bill. State Rep. Emily Perry (D-Mission) voted against explaining there are other ways to safe guard the schools and noted that the teachers she had spoken to did not like the idea and spoke of the costs involved to install required equipment. The bill allows public colleges, nursing homes, and hospitals to have a four year waiver on guns which Perry fought to have extended every four years but was unsuccessful as the Legislature though it was unnecessary and could be reviewed again in 2017. Perry also wanted to included mental health centers in the list of places with a ban on concealed weapons which also failed. According to Huff Post, Perry explained her dismay by saying, “We need to help those struggling with mental health… The idea of mixing concealed carry with mental health is not a good idea.” However Couture Lovelady argues that those opposing concealed carry in public building do not realize the danger of having a gun free environment. As he explains, “There is a lot of fear out there that doesn’t match up with reality and logic…Gun-free zones actually hurt people and don’t help.”