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Archive for Friday, June 28, 2013

City commissioners struggle with how to deal with state’s concealed carry law

June 28, 2013

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Lawrence city commissioners will have to decide within weeks whether to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for new security measures or allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring firearms into public buildings ranging from City Hall to recreation centers.

“My comfort level with this is not good,” City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer said today, as commissioners began to get their arms around the issue.

City Manager David Corliss’ recently released recommended 2014 budget did not include any money for enhanced security measures, such as metal detectors and security officers to staff them, that will be required before the city can exempt itself from the state’s new concealed-carry law. The new law removes the city’s ability to ban concealed weapons simply by posting a "no guns" sign at entrances.

Corliss has estimated it will cost $200,000 to implement security measures at City Hall and the Lawrence Municipal Court. It could cost another $600,000 or more for the city to implement full-time security systems at facilities such as its recreations centers, indoor aquatic center, nature center and the Lawrence Public Library.

Farmer, City Commissioner Bob Schumm and Mayor Mike Dever all expressed concern about the prospect of allowing weapons into events ranging from city commission meetings to youth league basketball games. But all the commissioners stopped short of saying they could support adding more money, and possibly a property tax rate increase, to the budget to add the security measures.

“I am not very happy with the way the state has left us in a bind with this particular situation,” Schumm said. “It requires us to either raise taxes substantially to create a safe area, or we just roll the dice and see what happens.”

Farmer said he wants to get more information from city employees about how they feel about allowing guns into their workplaces. Dever said he wants the city’s legal staff to exhaust all options to gain another exemption from the law.

The city and Douglas County received an automatic exemption from the law through the end of 2013. The law contains language that raise the possibility governments could get up to four more years of exemptions, if they can prove they have proper plans in place.

But Corliss said it is unclear how feasible it will be for any city to gain such a multiyear exemption, and he said news on an exemption likely won’t be known by the time commissioners must approve the 2014 budget in August.

“What I really need this summer is some direction from the commission about what level of priority this is,” Corliss said.

Proponents of the law change argued that the old system of placing a "no guns" sign at an entrance did nothing to ensure anyone’s safety. Commissioners conceded the old system wouldn’t stop anyone intent on bringing a gun into a public building, but they said this new system creates worries about law-abiding citizens who bring a gun into a public meeting or office and then lose control of their emotions during a contentious meeting or event.

“My argument is good guys have bad days too,” Schumm said.

Corliss said there may be ways the city can reduce the projected costs to provide security to city buildings. For example, he said City Hall or Municipal Court may have a security desk that is only staffed during certain hours of the day. During those hours it would be illegal for permit holders to bring a concealed weapon into the building. But during the other hours it would be legal for permit holders to carry concealed.

Commissioners, though, said such a system sounds problematic. Commissioners also expressed concern about securing certain buildings, such as City Hall, but leaving others, like recreation centers, without security measures.

“That is going to create a situation where you have to pick and choose who deserves the highest levels of safety, and that will get very hard to do,” Dever said.

Comments

oldbaldguy 9 months, 3 weeks ago

50year has got it right. This is much ado about nothing. Let us spend our (taxes)money on real problems.

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50YearResident 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Question for the City Commissioners: If you decide to spend all of these Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to protect the City from the good guys (Concealed Carry Holders), then how much money and what do you plan to do to protect the City from the Criminals that are already breaking the laws? You surly have some extreme fixes for those people too, right?

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uncleandyt 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Ammo tax. Gun tax. holster tax. Consider considering that each shooter has a first shooting. Shooty, for years, had been a "law abiding citizen". But, then, one day, Bang. Look beyond today's number of gun toters. In the future, if the gun makers get their wish, more and more toters will tote. More shooters equals more shootings. Opening up government buildings to random heat-packers is exactly stupid. Pretend I'm wrong. $$$$

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Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I say to the city commission let the taxpayers decide as the state should have done.....

Of course law enforcement is not comfortable with more guns on the street.

C&C was passed by one of the most insane group of legislators on the planet....

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Larry Moss 9 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems the easiest way to get a wavier would be to submit a 4 year plan to secure facilities within that time. Secure 25% of the buildings every year until compliance was met. You spread the cost over that time frame, meet the laws requirements and in the end get what you want which is no guns in those facilities.

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cheeseburger 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Here's a solution that doesn't cost squat: Follow state law. Allow it. Problem solved. No cost.

Corliss needs to reign in some of this wild spending, and this is one way to do it.

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Tradways 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Skull is making fun of those that want to carry for their own protection, comparing the chance of being shot to the same chances of being hit by lighting. In comparsion you have a better chance of being killed by a bee than by a terrorist, but people like you have no problem letting the federal government take all your privacy away with no regard to the constitution.

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Lynn731 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I have always thought a lot of Bob Schumm, I still do. I disagree with him on this issue. Look at the thinking of the legislature, and why they made the changes to this law, and the knife law. I and they believe it is unfair to deny law abiding citizens the means with which to protect themselves, when there is no one to protect them. It is just that simple. The title of this story is City Commissioners struggle with how to deal with state's concealed carry law. I have been reading this newspaper for many years, it has been my observation that city commissioners struggle with most every decision they make. They and the citizens of Lawrence have been fighting for twenty years as to whether to build an extension of K-10. They fought over whether to ban talking on cell phones in cars, but they made so many exemptions that fell through. It was a stupid idea in the first place. I could go on and on but I want to keep this reasonably short. The intent of the law is fair. If you deny people the right to protect themselves you must provide them protection.

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50YearResident 9 months, 3 weeks ago

What makes the average Lawrence citizen trustworthy one day and untrustworthy the next day? Answer: A 25 cent sign.

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To Sides 9 months, 3 weeks ago

How about treating it like smoking? Give those who feel safer carrying a concealed weapon a special room they can go to so they can feel safe. Then they can shoot each other all they want.

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50YearResident 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it is only fair that if the city commissioners spend $700,000 to protect the court house then Bob Schumm should also put metal detectors in his places of business to protect us from those same good guys that are having a bad day. It won't be safe there when one of those good guys finds a hair in their food, bullets will fly. (sic)

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Lathrup 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If the commish hadn't blown so much money on the sports complex you would have the funds and not need to raise my tax....again!

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Dont_Tread_On_Me 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Bob: You are not "rolling the dice". Get past your emotional fears.

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Pheps 9 months, 3 weeks ago

A sound rule of survival. Do not enter environments that look like you need to carry a weapon to survive.

What happens if no sign is posted? Roll the dice. Shooters intent on shooting are not going to follow the sign regardless if it is posted or not.

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beeline 9 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no evidence of good guys having bad days, Commissioner Schumm. This law is just collateral to living in Kansas. If we want to spend some money, let's spend it on safety education. Proaction vs reaction.

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Benjamin Roberts 9 months, 3 weeks ago

“That is going to create a situation where you have to pick and choose who deserves the highest levels of safety, and that will get very hard to do,” Dever said.

Actually, that is what you are doing, Mr. Dever, when you pick and choose when and where a CCH can protect him/herself.

The

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50YearResident 9 months, 3 weeks ago

OK, lets get serious here and discuss who is the group of people that we are talking about here, concealed carry permit holders. Concealed carry permit holders have legally had the ability to carry a concealed weapon on their person for five years now, right here in the city of Lawrence, in the county of Douglas and in the State of Kansas. These permit holders are the same people that are your friends , neighbors, relatives and business associates. For the last five years none of them has had need to pull their gun out and cause a confrontation with city officials of any kind. The "no guns" sign was not the determining factor in these results. Taking down the signs is not suddenly going to alter the personality of these people and cause them to "fly off the handle", go berserk, lose control and start shooting people in public places.
Now city commissioners and city officials are extremely concerned that this same group of citizens that have permits, now need to be controlled with hundreds of thousands of dollars of security equipment to keep them doing exactly the same as they have for the last five years. Do you realize that nothing has changed except the sign. Lawrence is not going to change into Dodge City of the 1800's because a sign has been removed. The permit holders have passed criminal background checks, been fingerprinted and have had gun safety checks with firing practice. Remember concealed carry holders are not criminals, they are people you know and have known for many years, and you would be surprised to learn some of them are your Doctors, Lawyers, Business Leaders, Friends, Neighbors and Relatives. Why do you suddenly mistrust these people and think they will now be out to harm you because a 25 cent sign has been removed? Do these people warrant spending millions of dollars to keep them honest? Think about it, and think long and hard, nothing has changed. I doubt that any of these people will ever even take a weapon into the buildings mentioned that need security. So quit worrying about nothing.

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R_I 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why does Schumm not have his business posted to prohibit concealed carry?

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R_I 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I take it the unwritten part of the story is that the other commissioners are not struggling with this issue.

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Maracas 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah and what is a man supposed to do if some great homicidal maniac comes after him with a bunch of loganberries, or . . . wait for it . . . a banana!

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frankfussman 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Since when does throwing a chair or hitting with a fist authorize you to reply with a gun? Pulling a gun escalates the event. If two or more people pull a gun, who will get shot?

Here's one good guy shooting another good guy. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/01/01/former-atf-officer-among-the-dead-in-li-pharmacy-shooting/ And another. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/nyregion/29cop.html

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BitterClinger 9 months, 3 weeks ago

If I can't carry my firearm who is going to protect me against the criminal who doesn't pay ANY attention to the no guns sign?

Who is going to protect me from the person who picks up a chair or bench and seeks to do me bodily harm?

Who is going to protect me from the person who wants to use his/her fists or feet to do me bodily harm while I'm in that building?

Who is going to protect me going to and from one of these buildings where I previously was not allowed to carry my firearm?

Who is going to protect me from the person who grabs up a pointed / sharp object (scissors, pen, pencil, plastic silverware, etc) and wants to do me bodily harm?

Who is going to be responsible for MY safety if I am not allowed to be?

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