I already have serious concerns about concealed guns coming into classrooms at our colleges and universities. Unfortunately, given this earlier vote, it is clear for now that there will very likely be no change for higher education before July 1. In fact, the House has in committee a bill stripping any flexibility from institutions developing their own policy of implementation. But for today, my focus is on the Medical Center, where the issue takes on a whole new life.
I understand the strong beliefs that many have about access and citizen use of firearms. Repealing the Second Amendment has never seriously been discussed and is definitely not going to happen, but the threat of it remains a valuable weapon of use by the National Rifle Association to successfully impact elections. Hunting is accepted as appropriate by most Kansans for sure. And being able to have guns to protect yourself and your family certainly has majority support. But what we are talking about here with KUMC is a totally different breed of cats.
Regardless of how one might feel on this issue in theory, it would seem to me that sane people could understand why KUMC has practical and economic concerns. They have competition from medical centers just across the state line that are understandably taking doctors and patients away from KUMC because of the gun issue. I know from years of experience dealing with KUMC how difficult it is to fulfill its mission, serve the needs of the public, and do so in a way where the dollar numbers work out.
As a state, we’ve invested in helping KUMC to achieve the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation which, in turn, has helped our citizens access experimental drugs and has, no doubt, saved lives. Renewal of the NCI designation is currently in process, and this looming issue, which impacts both staffing and the bottom line, is certainly of no help.
Why would anyone see any advantage in having guns brought into KUMC? The current policy of prohibiting concealed weapons certainly has a positive record. Please speak up and let your legislators know that there is support for responsible legislative action on guns and that you will be there to back them up against any blowback from the NRA or other gun rights groups. The NRA has seemingly endless amounts of money, but the people of Kansas have their brains, their hearts, their voices, and their votes. A declining KUMC not only stifles further innovation in the medical field, it also means that Kansans will have to go further for some of their most critical medical needs.