An animal trapping organization interested in hosting a convention at the Douglas County Fairgrounds is asking the Douglas County Commission to consider allowing it to bring firearms onto the site as part of the event.
Having canceled its regular Wednesday meeting, the commission held a special session Monday morning, where the subject was referenced offhand by one of the commissioners. County Administrator Craig Weinaug said after the meeting that the topic is not expected to go before the commission for another two or three weeks, until an initial legal analysis of the request can be completed.
The Kansas Fur Harvesters Association Inc. contacted the commission Sunday with the request, according to an email provided to the Journal-World by Weinaug. In it, John Borror, the organization's convention coordinator, said the group is interested in bringing the national convention of the Fur Takers of America to Douglas County in 2016.
Borror said in the email that the event would last four days and bring up to 8,000 visitors. Firearms would not be discharged, but they would be displayed and available for sale.
In December, the commission approved a resolution exempting county buildings from a new state law that would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons into most municipal buildings.
The new state law allows local governments to exempt themselves for up to four years in order to develop and implement "adequate security measures" for any buildings to remain weapons-free.
Borror said in the email that the organization may still come to the fairgrounds should it not get its waiver; however, such a decision "could certainly have some bearing" on the convention's location.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved measures to clean up an illegal trash dump in Eudora Township. The commission approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for funding to clean the site, which is beneath the Kansas Highway 10 bridge over the Wakarusa River. The board also authorized the installation of a gate at East 2000 Road to prevent future dumping at the site.
• Approved an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration for $500,000 in funding for road improvements along County Route 458, from East 1050 to U.S. Highway 59. The project is expected to cost the county about $1.5 million.