The Kansas Senate was packed with people today because they had long debate on the gun bills HB 2145 and HB 2042, and a campus free speech bill, SB 340. SB340 failed, HB 2145 passed with the amendments made by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, and HB 2042 passed with no amendments made. Below you’ll find the long form version of what happened in the Senate session:
SB 340: Campus Free Speech
SB 340 an ALEC-associated campus “free speech” bill that would make it impossible for universities to do punish students for harassment and give students and faculty different speech rights than faculty, failed with a 20-20 vote.
HB 2145: Prohibiting Guns from Certain People
The Senate then debated HB 2145, which limits gun ownership for people who have been convicted of domestic violence. The bill passed the House unanimously, but then there were amendments made in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. The bill now does a number of things, which can be read in this supplemental note:
Senator Dinah Sykes offers an amendment which would restore the bill to the version that passed the House. Then Senator Masterson stood up to oppose the amendment. The Senator from Lynn, Senator Tyson, asked Senator Sykes if she remembers the case in which a man got a felony conviction for manufacturing silencers in his garage because he thought that the unconstitutional Kansas 2nd Amendment Protection Act would make Kansas gun laws override state law (which no state law can legally do). On the Sykes Amendment, the Senate voted 19-19 on that amendment. The Senator from Leavenworth changed his vote to no, so the motion failed 20-18. They passed the bill with the amendments the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee had made.
HB 2042: Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Then, they discussed HB 2042— the concealed carry reciprocity bill. Senator Masterson explained that this bill will recognize other state’s permits. The House had added amendments to the bill, but the Senate Committee stripped it of those amendments, so now all the bill does is pass concealed carry reciprocity. Senator Hawk stood up and gave a speech about the Parkland shooting and what has happened in his district since that horrific day– 13 students have been arrested for making threats. He also presented a letter from the Board of Education that urges solutions, stating “If we don’t get this right, it will be our shame.”
Senator Rogers then introduced an amendment to ban bump stocks. Senator Masterson refers to bump stocks as “novelty items” and refers to them as just a piece of plastic, neglecting the fact that these items have been used to murder hundreds of people, such as in the Las Vegas shooting. Senator Rogers says that the language in this amendment is identical to what recently passed in Florida. Senator Rogers moves his amendment, and a roll call vote. Senator Haley explained his yes vote by bringing up the Las Vegas shooting and saying it would help prevent those tragedies. The Senator from Saline voted no and explained that it was because he only wants to vote on the base bill instead of lots of amendments. The final tally on the Rogers Amendment was 20-20 and the motion failed.
Senator Bollier then introduced an amendment to create red-flag, or extreme risk protection orders in the State. Current Kansas law does not have any due process for removing of weapons for people who have been found mentally unfit to carry, so this amendment would create that. An Extreme Risk Protection Order would prohibit a defendant from owning, purchasing or receiving any firearms or ammunition for up to a period of 1 year. A family member is described to include people who have lived with the defendant or who are related by blood or marriage. It would allow a family member to request a judge to put a temporary gun violence restraining order to be put in place. 30 states have either introduced or already passed similar extreme risk protection orders acts. Bollier also stated,”The NRA has asked for this type of legislation to move and be passed across the country so we can prevent unnecessary gun violence. No one wants gun violence.” The germaneness of the amendment was questioned and it was ruled not germane. Senator Bollier urged the Senate to urge the Judiciary committee to hear the bill. Senator Wilborn stood up and said that he got a text from the NRA and they don’t support extreme protection orders.
Senator Francisco raised concerns about out-of-state 18-year-olds who have permits from other states being allowed to carry on college campuses and introduced an amendment that would change the terms jurisdiction and license and permit so that permits from out of state would have to be equal to or more restrictive than Kansas permit requirements. Senator Masterson said that this amendment would nullify a lot of reciprocity agreements. Francisco moved her amendment, and it failed on a voice vote.
Senator Pettey then introduced an amendment which would require a 3-day waiting period for gun purchases and would create a larger background check to be done in that period. Masterson strongly opposed the amendment because he thinks it would limit guns from people. Senator Faust-Goudeau reiterated that this amendment would just be a delay to make sure that a person trying to purchase a gun doesn’t have a domestic violence conviction. Senator Pettey reminded everyone that it would not actually limit anyone’s ability to purchase a gun, it would just make them have to wait another 3 days. Senator Fitzgerald said that safety measures can have a counterproductive effect and says that a woman needs a gun to protect herself from a domestic abuser, despite the fact that a woman is 5 times more likely to die in a domestic violence situation when there is a gun involved. Senator Fitzgerald told a story of a woman who got shot by her domestic abuser and said that if she had a gun she wouldn’t have died, and says that this is unnecessary. Senator Pettey said that this won’t prevent every incident of gun violence, but it would prevent some and that’s important. Senator Bollier brought up that there is an 80% success rate with suicide by guns, and if you keep guns out of the hands of someone who is suicidal, their risk goes down significantly, and that she thought Kansas was a pro-life state. Motion failed on a voice vote, then there was a roll call vote. Senator Hensley explained his yes vote by saying that if a guy like Rick Scott breaks with the NRA to do this, then we should take notice and pass it. Senator Hardy voted no and said that it was because he only wants to vote on the base bill. The final tally was 17-23 and the motion failed.
Then Senator Holland introduced an amendment to raise the purchase age of rifles to 21. This amendment failed with a vote of 13-27.
Then Senator Francisco introduced an amendment that would change the reciprocity agreement so that Kansas would only accept permits from other states for people over 21 because Senator Masterson raised concerns about age earlier. The amendment failed on a voice vote and was brought up for a roll call.
Senator Holland from Douglas County introduced an amendment to bring back permits and training for the entire state, repealing “constitutional carry.” Senator Masterson started laughing when the amendment was brought up and says he’s tempted to question germaneness but wants to see the vote. Senator Doll says that where he’s from if you don’t have a gun you’re weird and even his constituents think that everybody should have permits and training. The motion failed on a voice vote and went to roll call, where it failed 16-24. Senator Haley (Democrat) explained his no vote by saying that people can’t afford permits so he doesn’t think that people should be required to have them to carry a gun. He didn’t wish to put his remarks in the journal because he doesn’t want 20 Republicans to sign on like they did to his comments when he supported getting rid of permits the first time.
Senator Hawk then introduced another amendment which would exempt colleges and universities from requiring concealed carry, getting rid of campus carry. Senator Masterson asked Senator Hawk if there’s been an instance that would create a need to reverse the law. Senator Hawk reminded everyone of the time someone accidentally shot himself at K-State in the dorms, which Masterson says happened before concealed carry so therefore doesn’t count. Senator Bollier asks if there are any people who have left because of concealed carry. Senator Hawk says that enrollment at K-State is down and he knows of people who have left because of the law. Senator Baumgardner mentioned a report from KU saying that there have been no weapons violations in the first 6 months of campus carry as a reason for why there is no reason to reverse campus carry — neglecting the fact that when guns are legal, you aren’t violating the law when they are on campus. Senator Francisco pointed out that if it’s no longer a violation to have a gun, then obviously the rate of people getting in trouble for carrying guns will go down. Senator Baumgardner says that the drop in crime was actually in thefts and break-ins. Senator Hawk brought up that police aren’t allowed to ask if someone’s carrying a gun to check to see if they are allowed to or not, and asserts that there are, have been and will continue to be problems on campus. Senator Hawk moves amendment, motion failed on a voice vote, and a roll call vote was requested. The Senator from Reno explained his vote by saying that he thinks every campus should be able to make their own decisions about gun policies. A number of other Senators joined his remarks for the journal. Senator Hardy changed his vote from no to yes. Senator Tyson asked for a preliminary vote count, which was 19 in favor and 21 against. The amendment failed 19-21. Senator Hensley stood up and thanked the Senate for having this debate today and for keeping it civil.
Senator Masterson says he doesn’t think there’s anybody in the room that doesn’t agree that something needs to be done about gun violence and says that the issue is that there is no real solution to gun violence with the human condition. He also says it’s irrational and unfounded to fear guns, despite the fact that they can completely obliterate the human body and we know that when there are less guns, there is less chance of gun violence.The bill passed on voice vote.
The Senate then suspended the rules in order to pursue final action on both HB 2142 and HB 2042.
Senator Rogers voted no on HB 2042 and explained his vote by saying that there were a number of common sense solutions posed, we need to listen to each other more, and he doesn’t want to lower our reciprocity standards. Senator Schmidt from Shawnee stated that she didn’t agree with all the pieces but voted yes on HB 2145 because the domestic violence piece is really important. Senator Hawk will submit explanation of vote later, and a number of senators have joined his future explanation of vote.
HB 2145 passed unanimously and HB 2042 passed 25-15.