Archive for Sunday, June 2, 2013

Editorial: More guns

A new Kansas law makes it much harder for local governments to keep concealed handguns out of public buildings.

June 2, 2013

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A new state law aimed at allowing people to legally carry concealed guns into public buildings has local government officials across the state scrambling.

The law goes into effect in less than a month, on July 1, but municipalities can exempt themselves from the law until Jan. 1, 2014 by sending a letter of notification to the Kansas attorney general. That short-term solution is relatively simple, but the long-term implications of the law could have serious consequences for both local governments and state entities, including state universities.

The new law requires most local governments to allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring handguns into public buildings unless the building is equipped with “adequate security measures” to ensure that no guns can be brought in. The point of the legislation, advocates say, is that if security isn’t tight enough to keep out illegally carried guns, then legally carried guns also shouldn’t be excluded.

“Adequate” security measures include electronic equipment or personnel stationed at public entrances to make sure guns aren’t admitted. Simply posting a sign, as many municipalities now do, won’t do the job.

County and city commissions across the state are choosing to apply for the six-month exemption to give them more time to examine their options. In Garden City, the chief judge of the district court asked the Finney County Commission to seek the exemption. Commissioners agreed but acknowledged it was unlikely any better options would exist in six months. A similar discussion occurred in Newton, among Harvey County commissioners, who were pondering whether to pursue exemptions for up to four years, which is allowed only if a municipality can show it has a plan to add the necessary security to comply with the law. In Newton, officials estimated that installing a metal detector in the courthouse would cost $600,000 to $800,000 with an ongoing annual cost of $250,000. That’s a big expense for a relatively small county.

Did state legislators even consider the financial burden such security measures would put on local governments? If they did, they surely must have realized that most local governments wouldn’t be able to handle the expense. That lends credence to the view that the legislators’ real intent was not for governments to improve security but rather for them to give up, remove the “no gun” signs and allow concealed guns in public buildings.

Lawrence city commissioners have decided to take advantage of the six-month exemption, as did Douglas County commissioners who took the opportunity to express their displeasure. Commissioner Jim Flory didn’t mince his words, saying the security of county buildings should be a local, not a state, issue and that “the only people who ought to be carrying concealed weapons in county facilities are certified law enforcement officers.” As a former Douglas County sheriff’s deputy and district attorney, as well as a former U.S. attorney for Kansas, it seems that Flory has some basis to know what he’s talking about.

He and the other county commissioners also said they hoped local governments across the state would band together and fight to have the new concealed carry law changed or repealed. Once officials and taxpayers realize how much it will cost to comply with the security law and that the only alternative is to allow unlimited concealed guns in public buildings, support for that position may grow. There’s strength in numbers. Kansans need to make their opinions on this legislation known.

Comments

50YearResident 1 year, 12 months ago

Here we go again, beating this dead horse. Let's review the last five years. Why only five years? Because that's how long gun permits have been available. Before that time we were all one group of people and no signs were needed to keep anyone out of the courthouse. The last five years there has been two groups, those with gun permits and those without. Those with permits were controlled by a plastic sign that restricted guns in the courthouse. The sign worked and kept guns out. There were no incidents involving guns in the courthouse and no non permit holders brought in guns either. Now the signs have to be removed and everyone suddenly thinks the people with gun permits are going to turn violent. The theory is, all those people kept from shooting bullets inside the courthouse by the sigh are now going to start shooting because the signs are gone. The result of this is a million dollars a year to man metal detectors to keep these formerly good people from turning bad. If they were going to turn into killers it would have already happened. The sign was not the thing protecting the courthouse, it wasn't needed to keep law abiding people law abiding. Metal detectors are not necessary and will not change what has "not" happened in the last five years. Save the expense.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

There was an incident involving a gun at the Shawnee County courthouse... The District Attorney attempted to bring a box containg paperwork and a loaded 9mm into the courthouse but was stopped by deputies. Of course he claimed ignorance and was allowed to take the weapon back to his car...Nothing ever came of it. It's good to be in the "Just Us" system.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 12 months ago

Good points, Fifty Year. It seems we have pulled a lot of legislation out of nowhere the past couple of years. On the gun law, rather than try to repeal it, I think it should be amended to allow options for local entities. Since rural Kansans might have a different perspective, allow home rule to function.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 12 months ago

I strongly agree with you. All this law does, and rightfully so, is even the playing field. It gives law abiding citizens the tools to protect themselves.

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 12 months ago

What happens when the retired marine misses the gangbanger and hits you or someone you love in a "friendly fire" accident? Would your thinking change?

We dont live in dodge city in the 1880s. Gun violence will never solve the problem of gun violence. The end result will just be more dead and wounded people.

Plus aren't schools public buildings? Do we really want anyone to legally or illegally bring guns into schools? Enough kids have been shot in schools already.

Brock Masters 1 year, 12 months ago

If guns are such a bad thing then why do cops carry them?

We should work on long term solutions to end violence but in the meantime guns are our best defense when faced with an armed violent person intent on doing us harm.

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 12 months ago

I never said guns were a bad thing, Fred. What I said is basically that untrained rednecks running loose waiting to plug a few bad guys 1) makes them bad guys, and 2) also puts people at risk. Plus, the actual risk of gun violence is nearly zero in Kansas. In my 45 years, I know one person who committed suicide as a teen with a pistol, another who attempted suicide as an adult, and two people who were murdered with a shotgun because they borrowed money from the mafia and then didn't repay the loan. None of these were random acts of violence. I'm sure some people reading the LJW will know a victim of a random gun crime, but that is very rare. Your fears are disproportionate to reality.

Liberty275 1 year, 12 months ago

"What happens when the retired marine misses the gangbanger and hits you or someone you love in a "friendly fire" accident? Would your thinking change?"

No, Why should it? Is someone I love more important than someone I don't? In fact, I would personally tell the marine "thank you".

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 12 months ago

Really, you would thank the marine who accidentally shot your wife or child? I wouldn't be so understanding.

gl0ck0wn3r 1 year, 12 months ago

"In Newton, officials estimated that installing a metal detector in the courthouse would cost $600,000 to $800,000 with an ongoing annual cost of $250,000. That’s a big expense for a relatively small county."

But if it saves just one person, right?

mdlund0 1 year, 12 months ago

"That lends credence to the view that the legislators’ real intent was not for governments to improve security but rather for them to give up, remove the “no gun” signs and allow concealed guns in public buildings." I have a one word response to this statement: DUH.

“the only people who ought to be carrying concealed weapons in county facilities are certified law enforcement officers.” He's right, unfortunately, posting a sign at the door does not ensure that this is the case. Posting a guard with a metal detector does. The law will now correct this deficiency: either only certified law enforcement officers will be allowed in county facilities with concealed weapons, or everyone will be allowed in and people carrying without a permit will still be breaking the law.

50YearResident 1 year, 12 months ago

OK, Let me get this straight. In the last 10 years nobody has pulled out a gun in the Douglas County Judicial Center and started shooting. Not a permit holder, not a non-permit holder and not even a Law Enforcement Officer. However, now that the "no guns" signs are being removed, some of you think there is going to be a shoot out inside the building and some gun toting person is going to shoot another person and a CC permit holder will try to shoot that guy, miss, hit a couple innocent bystanders and all hell is going to break loose unless the county spends one million dollars on metal detectors to prevent this fantasy from happening. If it hasn't happened in 10 years, it isn't going to happen now. Nothing is going to change. Quit worrying about permit holders carrying in public buildings because most of them never will and if a "bad guy" wanted to shoot someone inside the courthouse they would find a way to get around the metal detector and guard anyway. As a matter of fact nobody has been shot in the Douglas County Court house in the 50 years that I have been a resident.

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

If nobody's bringing guns in and shooting people, why do you feel the need to bring your gun in for self-defense?

Sounds like the "no guns" signs were working pretty well, strangely enough, doesn't it?

50YearResident 1 year, 12 months ago

That's what I said in an earlier post. The 25 cent signs protected the buildings. Now answer this, why does the county commissioners think they have to replace a 25 cent sign with a $800,000 dollar metal detector and an armed guard at every entrance?
Nothing has changed and nobody is now planning on carrying their gun into the courthouse except maybe a Lawyer or Prosecutor and we know they can't be trusted, don't we? (sic)

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

You seem to miss your own point a little bit.

If they were working, why did CC holders feel the need to change the laws so that they could bring their guns in for self defense?

It's the state that's requiring those security measures if guns aren't allowed - that's the new law.

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