The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday refused to repeal an ordinance that prohibits carrying concealed knives and approved a name for the new recreation center at Rock Chalk Park: Sports Pavilion Lawrence.
The city's knife ordinance will be unenforceable starting next week when a new state law that specifically allows concealed carry of knives takes effect. Commissioners said they thought the law approved by the Kansas Legislature will make the public less safe and they didn't want any part of facilitating it.
Commissioner Terry Riordan, a physician, said he remembered operating on a young man stabbed in the neck who later died from his wounds. "I don't think we should acquiesce to bad laws," Riordan said.
Commissioner Bob Schumm agreed. "I will not vote to (repeal) an ordinance that I think puts people at risk. All this additional gun carry and knife carry is going to be harmful to the citizens of Lawrence," he said.
City attorneys had recommended the commission repeal the ordinance, saying having it on the books could lead to some confusion. Either way, however, on July 1, the local ordinance will be pre-empted by the state law.
The Commission did approve an ordinance that prohibits other weapons such as bludgeons, sand clubs, metal knuckles, throwing stars, blackjacks, tear gas and smoke bombs.
In other business, the Commission:
— Approved naming the new Rock Chalk Park recreation center Sports Pavilion Lawrence. The eight-gym, 181,000-square-foot recreation center is scheduled to open in September in northwest Lawrence. The city has retained Premier Sports Management to solicit compensation to the city for certain naming rights and sponsorships. Mitch Wheeler, vice president of Premier Sports Management, said the company was negotiating with some companies that are willing to spend approximately $100,000 per year to have their name in front of the recreation center's name.
— Directed the staff to draft a revised ordinance to permit an increase in the overnight occupancy at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 3655 E. 25th St., from 125 people to 140 people when nighttime temperatures are 40 degrees or lower.
— Awarded a bid of $1.8 million to R.D. Johnson Excavating Co. for road improvements on Wakarusa Drive.