Advertisement

City Hall

City Hall

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

June 28, 2013

Advertisement

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

BitterClinger 1 year, 6 months 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?

Keith 1 year, 6 months ago

Why go anywhere, danger awaits around every corner, according to your (paranoid?) view.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

Some would say the terrorists won...you lost. Enjoy your life of fear.

BitterClinger 1 year, 6 months ago

I have a firearm and know how to use it to defend myself. What have I got to be afraid of?

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

Your shadow apparently. You're as likely to die in a mass shooting as you are to be struck by lightning.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/steinberg/19270756-452/mass-shootings-not-a-big-problem.html

Go ahead...carry that large piece of metal in your pocket.

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months ago

Skull, you make a good point. Clinger and everyone else, is as likely to be shot in a public building in Lawrence Kansas, as being hit by lightning and struck by a bullet at the exact same time. Who would of thought of those odds, but you, Skull. Keep those facts coming.

jafs 1 year, 5 months ago

Apparently, all of the things in your first post.

kernal 1 year, 6 months ago

You know what, Bitter? I've been in and out of Federal, State and City public buildings many many times for decades and have never had a problem. Now, I'm expecting there will be problems because of new inexperienced gun owners carrying inside of public buildings. That's where we are likely to see the problems.

I wonder how you ever left your house before now if you're this paranoid about being attacked outside your home.

BitterClinger 1 year, 6 months ago

Conceal and carry has been legal in Kansas for years. CC folks have been carrying in and out of business and buildings and on the street for years in Kansas.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

How many times were you in danger? How could you possibly have lived before these"safe years."

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months ago

And now that fear has rubbed off Clinger and on to kernal. He is now in fear of fear itself.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 6 months ago

No one, Bitterclinger, that is why the new changes to the law were written. Legislators, and rightfully so, believed it was not fair to law abiding citizens to deny them the right to protect themselves when there was no one else available to do so !!

uncleandyt 1 year, 5 months ago

Who is going to scare us when Rush Limbaugh quits radio? Savage ! Who's gonna take you home, when you fall? The Cars Who put the bop in the bop-she-bop-she-bop? Shaft

frankfussman 1 year, 6 months 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

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

You can't take a beating with a chair to protect the life of the man beating you with the chair?

BitterClinger 1 year, 6 months ago

If a 6' tall, 200lb male throws a chair at me (5' tall, 150lbs) with the intention of injuring me (or worse) or comes at me with his fists and I am not quick enough to run away and escape I may feel I am in fear of my life. Defending myself with my firearm is an option.

How do you think I should defnd myself from an attack like that? Do you think asking him politely to stop would do the trick?

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

"How do you think I should defnd myself from an attack like that?"

Can't you wait for the police to come make the man stop throwing chairs at you?

John Hamm 1 year, 5 months ago

And in the meantime be beaten to a bloody pulp? Or worse?

Mark English 1 year, 5 months ago

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Maracas 1 year, 6 months 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!

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months 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.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months ago

He hasn't been convicted of anything yet. Are you saying he is guilty?

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

He shot an innocent teenager he stalked around a neighborhood "in self defense." Are these the criminals we need guns 24/7 to protect ourselves from?

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

He lost the fight he instigated. Would he have instigated the fight if he didn't have a gun?

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months ago

It has not been determined who instigated the fight yet either. Have you ever been "sucker punched"?

BitterClinger 1 year, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

I guess only choirboys get equal protection under the law? Some photos of him flipping the bird and him getting suspended from school for (insert gasp) marijuana do not change the fact that he was an unarmed minor doing nothing more than walking home.

BigAl 1 year, 6 months ago

Didn't see these pics on Fox News either.

jafs 1 year, 6 months ago

Well, if they're not going to take their guns there, why do they need the right to do that???

That doesn't make sense - the only reason people would want a cc license/permit is so they can take their guns with them when they leave the house - otherwise they don't need one.

beeline 1 year, 6 months 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.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

Actually there is evidence of good guys having bad days. http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm

beeline 1 year, 6 months ago

I checked out the chart. 80% suicides. I guess the bad days mostly don't involve anyone else.

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

You might actually want to read the situations, not just the big bold red letters (which indicate the fate of the shooter).

Lathrup 1 year, 6 months 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!

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months 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)

50YearResident 1 year, 6 months ago

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

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 6 months 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.

Tradways 1 year, 6 months 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.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months 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....

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months ago

Are you saying 49 other States are insane too? After Illinois joined we have full coverage. I will spread the word that you said they were insane along with Kansas. I am sure they will appreciate your kind words. If you move to North Korea you won't have to worry about those dangerous CC permit holders.

uncleandyt 1 year, 5 months 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. $$$$

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months ago

Second opinion: You are also an uninformed poster. Why are you so afraid of your friends, neighbors, bankers, lawyers, doctors and retired law enforcement people? They are just some of the people that own guns, there are many more that you also may know.

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months ago

Now you are really showing your ignorance. CC holders are not "paranoid macho nuts" and they certainly not going to start shooting up anything. Your concept of CC holders is flawed. They are not vigilantes and they have no intention to be. If you are involved in any gunfight you are on your own. Protect yourself because no one else is going to assist you except the police after you call them. When seconds count, the Police are only minutes away. Provide a link to 1 of these macho shootings that have happened in Kansas in the last 5 years where a innocent bystander has been shot or killed by a CC holder, find 1 if you can. See who the paranoid people are.

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months ago

I didn't think you could come up with even one event. It proves my point, doesn't it?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 5 months ago

Just glad I'm not a delusional fear monger with no evidence to support their delusions.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 5 months ago

Is that properly "grammariticulated", cynic? :)

50YearResident 1 year, 5 months 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?

oldbaldguy 1 year, 5 months ago

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

Commenting has been disabled for this item.