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You needn't look too far to see the effects of this reckless policy. The Shawnee Mission School District has eliminated 400 positions over the past three years. Early childhood education, new library books, all-day kindergarten and social workers for homeless students are now out of reach.
A Kansas Supreme Court decision on the case is expected in January. Some state lawmakers, meanwhile, have pledged to ignore the court if it doesn't find in the state's favor.
Sane lawmakers have expressed concern about the outcome. "I don't believe the state under the current tax law can sustain over the next five years," says Rep. Melissa Rooker, a Republican House member from Fairway who sits on the House Education Committee. She tells The Pitch: "If you add the ramifications of losing the court case, I don't think it's a sustainable plan. ... I don't have enough experience to know how we navigate the crisis, but I think such a crisis is on the horizon."
Newtown, Aurora, the Navy Yard, LAX: It has been a horrifying couple of years for gun violence in America. But at least public outrage over these and other devastating events has opened up a discussion about U.S. gun laws.
That discussion in Kansas? Make the gun laws way looser! Sell more guns and let people take them to more places!
That was the thinking behind House Bill 2052, which is now the law of the land in Kansas. Citizens with concealed-carry permits can now take their guns into any public building — including schools, libraries and government offices — not protected by metal detectors or security guards. Employees in these public buildings are also permitted to take their guns to work.
Say your child attends one of Kansas' many underfunded public schools. Unless that school finds a stack of cash to pay for new metal detectors or the salaries of armed guards, any parent, guardian or administrator at the school with a concealed-carry license — more than 25,000 such licenses have been issued since the beginning of 2013 alone — is free to wander the halls with a gun in his or her jacket.
The onus is now on all these public entities — government hospitals, the University of Kansas, you name it — to figure out how to pay for and comply with the "adequate security measures" dictated by the bill. Most have requested temporary exemptions (from six months to four years) in order to evaluate their buildings and prepare for this costly new law. But short of some kind of reversal, everybody will have to be in compliance by 2017. This from the party that hates government regulation.
There are some Easter eggs hidden inside H.B. 2052. The personal information of those applying for concealed-carry licenses is now confidential and exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests. Also, if licensed gun owners bring their guns into the few places left in Kansas where they're still prohibited, guess what? They can't be criminally prosecuted. A different bill, H.B. 2162, prohibits the use of state-appropriated money for "publicity or propaganda purposes relating to gun control."
"The practice of using taxpayer dollars to fund gun control support and lobby against your Second Amendment rights must be stopped," the NRA writes in a press release about the bill. "The NRA applauds Gov. Brownback for signing this important reform into law."