You ignore your doctor’s warnings at your own peril. Kansas lawmakers should keep that in mind as they consider a new bill that would allow hospitals to exempt themselves from the state’s concealed-carry law.
State lawmakers should pass Senate Bill 235, which would exempt public hospitals, mental health centers, municipal nursing homes and other such facilities from an impending requirement that would allow people to carry concealed weapons into those facilities.
The thought of allowing armed people to enter hospitals has produced a recoil among many in the medical industry. Doctors and others warn that allowing people to bring weapons into hospitals would make hospitals less safe.
State legislators should give considerable weight to those opinions. The medical profession is a unique one. It frequently produces the type of high emotions that occur in life and death situations. Can lawmakers not understand this scenario: A hospital visitor who is carrying a concealed firearm is given terrible news about a family member involved in a car crash. The party who caused the crash is just down the hall. The powerful emotions of grief and anger take over, and the gun that was brought into the hospital as a means of self protection becomes a weapon of a different type. The risks for such encounters will increase if concealed carry is allowed in hospitals.
Most lawmakers never have been in such powerfully emotional situations. Medical professionals have. Lawmakers should listen to the professionals.
The current law would allow hospitals to ban concealed weapons only if the hospitals provide adequate security measures, such as metal detectors at the entrances. Hospitals could do that, but it would be a shame if they had to. Do we really want to create a potential bottleneck situation at the entrances of hospitals? There are times that entering a hospital in a hurry is a matter of much importance.
But perhaps the biggest danger to allowing concealed weapons into hospitals is the systemic risk it creates. The state’s entire health system could be weakened. Good doctors have the opportunity to work almost anywhere. If given the choice, how many of them are going to choose to work at a hospital that allows concealed weapons versus one that does not? University of Kansas Hospital officials are expressing concerns about the effect concealed carry is having on recruitment.
Gun rights advocates already have made significant advancements in promoting concealed carry in the state of Kansas. For the moment, they should be satisfied with those advancements and recognize hospitals are unique environments where concealed carry may not be feasible.
This is a prime example of where common sense should trump political ideology.
— The Salina Journal