On Thursday (3/9/2017), there was a hearing on HB2220 — a bill that would preempt all of the individual universities’ policies for campus carry and make it so that individual universities and colleges in Kansas could not make rules regarding guns on campus that are more restrictive than the policies developed by the Kansas Board of Regents.
As always, the proponents were the first to give testimony. Chairman John Barker gave all of the proponents as much time as they wanted or needed to speak.
Travis Couture-Lovelady, the guy that quit his position as a Representative in the KS Legislature in order to become a full time lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, spoke very highly of the Kansas Board of Regents’ policies on campus carry and thanked them for having discussions with them while they created their policies. Moriah Day, the spokesperson for the Kansas State Rifle Association, said something similar.
Then, it was time for the opponent testimony.
Zoe Newton, Chair of the Kansas Board of Regents who was by Governor Sam Brownback in 2014, first spoke in opposition to the law and she was given as much time as she wanted to speak. This was the first time since 2012 that the Kansas Board of Regents testified for or against a law concerning guns on college campuses. In her testimony, Newton said, “The Board sought opinions from the Attorney General’s office and worked with legislators and gun-rights advocates throughout the process to ensure that its policies would not infringe upon the rights of lawful gun owners. The Board has actively overseen the development of the university specific policies for the same reason.” — The Kansas Board of Regents worked to ensure that their policies were acceptable by the NRA!
Mind you in 2012 when this law was first up for consideration, the Kansas Board of Regents was in strong opposition to campus carry in every way. Brownback replaced all of those board members.
Multiple administrators at Kansas universities have told me that the Board of Regents is working behind the scenes to stop campus carry. This is a LIE. They wouldn’t be thanking each other in a committee hearing if that were the case.
After Newton spoke, Chairman Barker gave the rest of the opposition testimony a strict 3-minute time limit.
KU student Mikaela Warner reminded the committee of Willie Dove’s irresponsibility with his gun earlier this session and asked ““How can we expect college students to be more responsible than our legislators?” as quoted in the Topeka Capitol Journal.
Dr. Ron Barrett, professor of aerospace engineering at KU, brought a 6-foot tall missile as a supplement to his testimony about how industry will be affected in the state.
I told the committee that the law is only meant to protect and defend white men. Chairman Barker interrupted me and said, “I’m going to have to give you a warning,” to which I responded, “A warning for what?” He told me to “stay on topic.” I said, “People are being threatened now on our university campuses for being black, for being LGBT, for not appearing the way all of the representatives for the NRA have appeared in front of this Legislature,” as the Lawrence Journal World reported. Then I said that every single person and member of that committee that supports HB2220 and supports guns on college campuses is personally responsible if anyone dies or is injured as a result of guns being allowed on college campuses and that we will all hold them accountable for it.
There were a few other verbal testimonies in opposition and multiple written ones submitted that you can find here.
The most important thing that came out of the hearing in my opinion was that the Kansas Board of Regents has been working directly with the NRA and wants to make sure that they are happy with all of the gun policies that are made. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that KBOR is secretly opposing this law. All of them were appointed by Brownback and they are doing NOTHING to oppose this law.