Kansas Might Arm Teachers: Breakdown of HB 2789

Kansas has introduced two bills to arm teachers in public schools and make those school buildings look more like prisons with the institution of more security measures, like metal detectors and video cameras.

On Wednesday March 21, 2018 two identical bills were introduced into the House and Senate — SB 454 and HB 2789, and a hearing has already been scheduled for HB 2789 on Tuesday, March 27th at 8:00am in Room 112-N (they moved to this room because it’s larger than 281-N) at the Statehouse.

These bills are 28-pages long and include a lot of important, yet tedious details, so we have systematically gone through the bill below so that you can fully understand what they are doing with this legislation. Because they introduced identical bills in both houses, and the date of enactment written in the legislation is January 1, 2019, we know they are serious about passing this and quick.

You can read the full bill here, but we have also broken it down in plain(er) language by section, highlighting the most important information that you need to know. When things repeat multiple times in multiple sections, they are only included in the first section they appear so we don’t make this as long as the original bill. Because this breakdown is still really long, here are the five most important things that you need to know about this bill:

  1. It creates a way for teachers to carry guns at school by creating a SAFER schools endorsement on Kansas-issued concealed carry licenses
  2. It creates a class C misdemeanor conviction for disclosing or encouraging the disclosure of people who have that SAFER schools endorsement
  3. It creates standards for school district buildings regarding other safety measures- like secure entrances and video cameras
  4. It prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on guns in schools
  5. It requires firearm safety education curriculum to be developed and names the NRA’s programs in that requirement

Full Breakdown of HB 2789 and SB 434 by Section

Section 1: School Safety Standards Creation

The State Board of Education must work with the adjutant general, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and the Environment, and any other agencies considered “necessary” to develop school safety standards and notify school boards of their standards by January 1, 2019. They are allowed to keep some information secret from the public. The standards must include the following things:

  • secured entrances, windows, and other aspects of the buildings
  • security technology, including alarms and security cameras
  • communications systems, including systems that connect school districts directly with the police
  • anything else the Board of Education considers necessary

Section 2: Implementation of School Safety Standards

This section breaks down the requirements for the creation of the standards that each school district will be required to implement if this law passes. These standards must include the following items, although they are allowed to include things not listed here:

  • the requirement that school districts evaluate their school buildings and make sure they are in line with standards
  • training of school district employees on what they are supposed to do in an emergency and while holding emergency drills
  • notifying people who are not in the school building about emergencies happening in the school building and for contacting law enforcement
  • securing school buildings during an emergency situation
  • evacuating school buildings, including evacuation routes and sites
  • what to do after an emergency situation is no longer an emergency
  • making sure the standards developed as a result of this law fit in with the school safety plans that school districts already have
  • distributing the school safety plans to the right law enforcement agencies
  • making sure schools are held accountable for maintaining these standards
  • anything else the Board of Education decides is necessary

When they develop these standards that will be used statewide in every school district, the State Board of Education must clearly identify which people or agencies are responsible for which aspects of the school safety plans. The Board of Education may use anything that is available from the US Department of Homeland Security to create these procedures.

Section 3: Requirements for School Board Safety Plans

Before adopting the standards that the Board of Education will create (see Section 1 and 2), each school district must consult with local law enforcement to review their buildings and current policies and procedures. The local law enforcement agencies will tell the school districts how they can improve, and any recommendations made must be done according to the standards that the Board of Education will create. After creating their individual plans, each school district must send these plans to law enforcement and the State Board of Education.

Section 4: No Liability for LEOs

Law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers are not legally liable for any personal injury or property damage resulting from anything required or permitted by Sections 1-3. Any law enforcement officer or agency who is brought to court over anything they do to institute the policies discussed in Sections 1-3 may be awarded court costs and “reasonable” attorney fees.

Section 5: Arming Teachers

The Board of Education may allow any employee of a school district who has a license to carry a handgun in Kansas or who wants a license to carry a handgun in Kansas to get a “SAFER schools” endorsement added to their concealed carry license. Any employee who gets this endorsement will be considered a “SAFER schools team member” by the Board of Education. All SAFER schools team members can concealed carry a gun in any school district building.

The identities of any SAFER team member are considered confidential and are not public information. School boards must develop procedures to keep the identities of those employees who choose to carry guns at school private. Anyone who “willfully or knowingly discloses, permits, or encourages disclosure of that information” will be guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Basically if we let people know which teachers are carrying guns or encourage people to let us know which teachers are carrying guns, we could be charged with a misdemeanor. 

Section 6: Insurance

Insurance companies cannot charge more for or refuse to provide insurance policies for the sole reason that a school district allows employees to carry guns in the premises unless the rate is differential or “based on sound actuarial principles or is related to actual or reasonably anticipated experience.” This will be enforced in accordance with Kansas Statutes Annotated Art. 26 Ch. 40.

Section 7: K-12 Gun Curriculum

The Board of Education must create curriculum guidelines for a standardized “firearm safety” curriculum. The guidelines must include the following items, but can include more:

  • accident prevention
  • K-5 curriculum must be based on the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program offered by the NRA or any other evidence-based program or any program that might come after Eddie Eagle
  • Grades 6-8 curriculum must be based on either the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program or any program that comes after it, or based on the Hunter Education in Our Schools program created by the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or any successor program, or any other evidence-based program or any successor program
  • Grades 9-12 curriculum must be based on the Hunter Education in Our Schools program from the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or any other evidence-based program or any successor program

If a school board chooses to offer firearms safety education classes, they must be offered to ensure that every student has the opportunity to take them.

Section 8: Naming of the SAFER Act

Sections 1-8 and any amendments shall be referred to as the “Kansas Staff as First Emergency Responders (SAFER) Act”.

Section 9:  Public Disclosure Law Amendments

This section amends K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 45-221, which is  the Kansas Open Records Law exemption list, to prohibit the disclosure of the following (except as required by law):

  1. the school safety standards created by the State Board of Education or adopted by school districts according to sections 1-2 of this law
  2. records regarding employees who choose to carry guns in school buildings, including any lists of those employees kept by school districts

Section 10: Establishes SAFER schools hotline

This section amends K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 72-6143, which concerns the privacy of student information, to allow any student, teacher, administrator or other individual to report a student to the SAFER schools hotline, which will be maintained by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. All reports to that hotline must be investigated, and each school district must post that hotline number on their website.

Section 11: Creating SAFER schools Endorsement on Concealed Carry Licenses

The Attorney General must issue the SAFER schools endorsement on the concealed carry license to any person who is eligible and fulfills the requirements. A license with this endorsement will be valid for 4 years from the date of issue. The endorsement shall be prominently displayed on the front of the license.

You can read about what is already required to get a Kansas concealed carry license here. Remember that licenses are not needed to carry anywhere else in the state.

Section 12: Standards for SAFER schools endorsements

The Attorney General shall only issue a license with the SAFER schools endorsement to employees of the school district who are authorized by the board of education of their school district. The Attorney General shall adopt rules and regulations to establish procedures for a handgun safety and training course required for anyone applying for the SAFER schools endorsement. Those standards shall include:

  • a requirement that trainees satisfy the training requirements that are required for all concealed carry licenses in Kansas
  • a requirement that trainees receive specific training designed for school district employees based on guidelines developed by the commission on peace officers’ standards and training
  • qualifications of instructors
  • a requirement that the course be provided by an instructor certified by the Attorney General or a law enforcement officer working with the school district the trainee works for

Section 13: Requirements for Getting the SAFER Schools Endorsement

This section amends K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 75-7c05, which concerns the applications for concealed carry licenses in Kansas, so that it must include whether an applicant is applying for the SAFER schools endorsement on their concealed carry license, if applicable. It also states that a person who holds a Kansas concealed carry license can apply for the SAFER schools endorsement by submitting the following things:

  1. a photocopy of their concealed carry license
  2. a photocopy of the applicant’s certificate of completion of the SAFER schools handgun safety and training course
  3. a photocopy of the resolution adopted by the school board allowing the applicant to carry a gun in that school district’s buildings
  4. a statement that the applicant fulfills the necessary criteria
  5. and a “conspicuous warning” that the application is executed under oath and that if you lie on it you are subject to criminal prosecution.

All applicants for this endorsement must pay a non-refundable $50 fee. 90 days after receiving the above documents, the Attorney General must issue a new license with the SAFER schools endorsement or deny the application solely based on the applicants disqualification based on the standard concealed carry license criteria. If the application is denied, the Attorney general must inform the applicant why in writing and provide them with the opportunity for a hearing.

Section 14: Regarding Renewing Concealed Carry Licenses

This section amends the statute concerning the renewal  of concealed  carry licenses. Anyone renewing a license with a SAFER schools endorsement must include certification that they have passed the handgun safety test within the preceding 30 days of a renewal application.

Section 15: Amendments to Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act

This section amends existing Kansas law which forbids public employers from restricting their employees from carrying guns on public property or on the job. This amendment basically states that there will be a “presumption of negligence” if it is shown that the school district didn’t authorize an employee to get the SAFER schools endorsement on their concealed carry license if there’s any action against the school district surrounding the use of firearms.

Section 16: Amendments to the Kansas Open Meetings Act

This section authorizes the governor’s domestic violence fatality review board to discuss matters relating to the authorization of school district employees to carry guns and the designation of SAFER schools endorsement team members.

What Now?

Please attend the hearing in Room 281-N on Tuesday, March 27th at 8am in the Statehouse if you can.

Please also contact your representatives and let them know what you think about this bill.

We will keep you updated as we know more


Concealed Carry Reciprocity & Domestic Violence Restrictions Pass KS Senate

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.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Passes Senate Committee: What You Need to Know

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee worked both HB 2145 and HB 2042 today.

HB 2145, a bill which will limit convicted domestic abusers’ access to guns that passed out of the House unanimously, was passed out of the Committee with 2 amendments. One amendment was brought by Senator Masterson and changes the status of throwing stars under the law and the date the law will go into effect. The other was brought by Senator Tyson and cleans up conflicting language. We will update this article as soon as we see the actual bill language.

HB 2042, a bill that as it passed the House would have passed concealed carry reciprocity, allowed 18 to 20-year-olds to carry with a permit, and required permits to carry on college campuses, was also passed out of the Senate Committee, but with all of the House amendments stripped. Now, the bill is a plain concealed carry reciprocity bill and will go to a Senate Conference Committee, where we will likely see additional changes. This bill as it is now will allow 18 to 20-year-olds with permits from states that allow concealed carry at 18 to concealed carry in Kansas.

We will update this article as we know more.


Bill allowing 18-20 year olds to concealed carry passes KS House

In today’s Kansas House of Representatives session, there were two gun bills that were amended on the floor– HB 2042 and HB 2145 — and passed. What happened can be found in more detail below, and on our Twitter feed.

In summary, the Kansas House passed HB 2042 (amended) out of committee. The bill as amended does 3 main things:

  • Passes Concealed Carry Reciprocity (CCR), which is an agreement between states to accept other states concealed carry licenses. This is something the gun lobby wants because it allows them to get around permit and training requirements in states that have stricter requirements. They want it because it will make it easier to further restrict gun laws.
  • Allows 18-20 year olds to concealed carry in Kansas with a permit. This is the permit application in Kansas. The training that Kansas requires is only 8 hours long and around $100, so it does not guarantee that someone who has passed it knows how to react in a dangerous situation with their gun.
  • Requires anyone who wants to concealed carry on a college or university campus in Kansas to have a permit like the one mentioned above no matter what their age.

On its face, part of this bill sounds like it might be a good idea, but do not be fooled. The main part of the bill — Concealed Carry Reciprocity — would make the amendments basically obsolete because people from states that don’t require any training to get a concealed carry permit would be able to carry on campus without training. It would make what we have in Kansas — permitless carry — more likely to be a reality nationwide.  This bill is also clearly a step towards no permit or training requirements for people ages 18-20. We must have more stringent permit and training requirements for everyone who carries anywhere and we must prohibit guns on campus. Period.

Explanation of Today’s Events 

This bill would legalize concealed carry reciprocity. This is a huge nationwide effort by the NRA to make permits and training obsolete nationwide. Here’s an explanation of what this concept is from an organization fighting it at the national level.

In today’s session, Representative John Whitmer first introduced an amendment to HB 2042 to fix the dates on the bill so they are current for this year, which passed.

Then, Representative Landwehr introduced an amendment to allow people over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 to legally concealed carry in Kansas with a permit. Right now, no one under 21 is legally allowed to concealed carry in Kansas, and no permits or training are required for anyone over the age of 21. This law would do nothing to enforce permits on those 21+ and would expand who is allowed to concealed carry legally in the state. It was made clear that this would be a step towards 18-20 year olds being allowed to concealed carry without a permit, an ultimate goal of the NRA. This amendment passed with a 82-42 vote.

Representative Ballard then introduced an amendment to allow individual universities to make their own decisions about whether to allow campus carry, which would effectively reverse the campus carry law. That amendment failed 53-69.

Then Representative Vic Miller introduced an amendment to ban bump stocks, which was rule not germane to the bill. A challenge was made to the germaneness ruling and then overruled. Basically, that amendment failed because the Rules Committee didn’t consider it pertinent enough to the bill at hand.

Then Representative Aurand introduced an amendment that would require permits and training for anyone concealed carrying on college and university campuses in Kansas regardless of their age. This amendment passed 70-52.

The House then voted on the bill as amended (with the Aurand and Landwehr amendments explained above) and passed it out of Committee of the Whole.

After more than 2 hours discussing HB 2042, the bill, HB2145, which would create restrictions on carrying guns for people convicted of domestic violence, passed out of Committee without debate or discussion on a voice vote.

If  any of this concerns you, please contact your legislators.