JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Moms across Kansas, including some from Johnson County, plan to visit lawmakers Thursday as part of an effort to keep places like hospitals “gun free.”
They’re pushing for House Bill 2074, which would permanently extend an exemption that keeps guns away from hospitals and medical centers, but their true support of the bill comes from it’s plan to keep them off college campuses.
However, some feel the bill they support undermines a previous promise.
“I think this issue is really uniting people around a passion to end gun violence,” said Jo Ella Hoye, a volunteer with the Kansas chapter of the group “Moms Demand Action,” a non-partisan grassroots group pushing for what they call responsible gun laws in Kansas.
“I’m a gun owner myself. I’m a parent. I consider myself a responsible gun owner,” said Hoye.
However, she considers allowing guns on college campuses irresponsible. She says she felt compelled to get involve with “Moms Demand Action” following a 2015 shooting in Colorado Springs that left three people dead.
Initially someone called 911 reporting seeing someone with a gun, but because Colorado Spring is “open carry,” likely no one paid much attention to it..
“That’s when I knew I had to do something to put a stop to the change in culture that I felt was happening,” said Hoye.
What about a scenario when the “good guy” has the gun? It’s a question former state lawmaker, and Kansas Rifle Association lobbyist Brett Hildabrand, is asking.
“Just over the weekend in Topeka at a Walmart there was a stabbing. There was somebody wielding a knife and a conceal carry person intervened and stopped that situation,” said Hildabrand.
He says the passage of House Bill 2074 not only back tracks on a promise that the exemption would end after four years, but it would keep those who lawfully carry guns from being able to protect themselves when a shooter is on the loose.
"Kansans as whole are very supportive of the Second Amendment, and I think that they understand that a college student shouldn’t have their protections removed just because they cross a boundary line and enter a college campus,” said Hildabrand.
He says he’s pretty confident the bill won’t go through. If it doesn’t, Jo Ella Hoye says she plans to fight on.