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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Gun law costly

May 16, 2013

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Is Lawrence going to be like Dodge City in the days of the O.K. Corral, or are our city’s public building entrances possibly going to resemble the screening areas for airline boarding?

Those appear to be the options facing local governments as they consider alternatives for complying with provisions of the state’s most recent changes in the law that enables citizens to carry concealed handguns.

The law no longer lets city or county buildings simply be posted with the “no gun” placards to make it illegal for anyone to bring a concealed firearm inside. The law, as changed by this year’s Legislature, says governments can post those placards only if the buildings have adequate security measures, like metal detectors and security officers, in place. Otherwise, citizens with licenses can carry their concealed weapons into the buildings.

Tuesday night, the City Commission exercised an option and will ask the attorney general for an exemption. If granted, the status quo would be maintained for a limited period of time. The law provides up to four years of exemptions, with certain provisions.

The annual cost to Lawrence taxpayers of operating one secured entrance to a public building is estimated at $84,000, after buying the metal detector. At least three city buildings are being considered for security systems; others are possibilities. The dollars add up quickly.

Officials are concerned about allowing armed citizens into some facilities and venues. City commissioners dislike the possibility of having firearms in City Commission meetings, where already a police officer is routinely on duty in case tempers flare or unruly behavior erupts.

The choice for local government officials across the state is not an easy one, but perhaps in today’s society security is the better option. Even so, it will be disappointing to shift resources from parks, streets and projects and organizations that benefit people to metal detectors and security screening.

Perhaps if enough local governments seek exemptions and complain about the changes in the law, the Legislature will re-evaluate the cost and consequences of its action. The public would value reconsideration and revisions based on facts, experience and the impact on the pocketbook.

Comments

skinny 1 year, 7 months ago

The cost of living in a free country!!

boltzmann 1 year, 7 months ago

Depends upon your definition of "free"

elliottaw 1 year, 7 months ago

Actually there are many free countries in the world, we just have the highest rate of violence, so it's the cost of living in a violent free country that no longer wants its people to have basic education

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

Not true. England's violent rate is higher. We have more gun violence but they have more violence.

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

Source?

Also, I think I might rather have some fistfights and fewer mass shootings, if that's the tradeoff.

50YearResident 1 year, 7 months ago

I am trying to understand why everyone thinks that now that the 8" plastic signs that says "NO GUNS ALLOWED" have been taken down, that the Concealed Carry Holders are suddenly going to turn violent and start shooting up the campus. The mind set seems to be that the signs were 100% effective and without them there will have to be metal detectors and guards at every door to do what those 8" plastic signs were doing. Can anyone please explain what has changed to cause this fear of attack from your friends and neighbors that may have a concealed carry license? Violence hasn't happened in the last 6 years, it is not going to happen now.

elliottaw 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe it's the 50,000 applications for CC permits a month that worries her

50YearResident 1 year, 7 months ago

elliottaw. you need to get the correct facts before you use the Library's computers.

jayhawklawrence 1 year, 7 months ago

You're right. It makes no sense but a lot of the anti-gun hysteria makes no sense. Just another attempt to waste time and money.

coebam 1 year, 7 months ago

"Is Lawrence going to be like Dodge City in the days of the O.K. Corral, or are our city’s public building entrances possibly going to resemble the screening areas for airline boarding?"

Sheer ignorance.

boltzmann 1 year, 7 months ago

Actually, my issue with it is not that I think that the CC holders are going to turn violent. I worry more about two things: 1) The way it stands now, if someone detects that someone on campus or in a public building has a gun, that in an of itself is cause for someone to report this, because that person should not have it on campus CC or not. Having a substantial population of legal carriers on the premises takes away this as probable cause. It will be much easier for someone up to no good to bring a gun because having a gun would no longer be a priori cause for suspicion. 2) I don't trust the current CC procedure to provide people with enough training to deal with crisis situations, if indeed a real shooter situation were to arise. I have no problem with CC as long as the training and acceptance standards are equivalent to what law enforcement officer would go through. That is currently not the case.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

And how many reports of people with a gun have reported in the last year? A CC holder most likely will not be displaying their gun anyway so if someone is call the cop nothing stops the cop from investigating.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 7 months ago

Remember that some of concealed carry license holders are retired law enforcement officers who carry under a federal law.

Mike Ford 1 year, 7 months ago

man, crazy is surely popular today....

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

Overuse of caps and exclamation points.

Your question has been asked and answered numerous times. The answer is that laws aren't 100% effective, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have them.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 7 months ago

Gee, it occurs to me that criminals do not obey the law. That is what makes them criminals. Many laws were broken at every mass shooting I recall. We must have laws, but we should not be surprised that criminals do not obey them. I think our laws concerning use of firearms in a felony should carry life in prison. That most likely will not affect mental cases, but it could make criminals sit up and take notice. The 3 strikes law, has made many a criminal think, and caused some to shoot it out with law enforcement rather than go back to prison for life without parole.

SouthWestKs 1 year, 7 months ago

boltzmann, CC holders are not cops. They do not need to be trained to the level of cops.

boltzmann 1 year, 7 months ago

Exactly, if they don't have the training then they shouldn't be armed in public.

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe, but not necessarily.

I agree that they should be adequately trained, and knowledgeable about the relevant laws, but they're not cops. And, just as I don't think they need the same level of weapons as cops (as fred argues), I don't think they need the same level of training.

Would you agree with fred then that they should have access to the same weapons?

SouthWestKs 1 year, 7 months ago

Again Guys, They are not cops, so they do not need a cops training. You don't call a CC carrier to respond in place of a cop. By saying a CC carrier can't carry the same gun as cop, I assume that you would support a law that your car can't go as fast a Highway Patrol car. Plus open carry has been the law forever in Kansas. Lawrence is a open carry city also.

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