Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lawrence crafting security plan to comply with state concealed carry law

Lawrence Public Library, pictured Aug. 20, 2015.

Lawrence Public Library, pictured Aug. 20, 2015.

May 26, 2016

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When its four-year exemption to a new Kansas law expires next year, Lawrence must allow concealed firearms in public buildings unless they’re equipped with security measures such as metal detectors and armed guards.

To prepare, the city attorney’s office has proposed funds in the 2017 budget to install security — both equipment and personnel — at public entrances to City Hall, Lawrence Municipal Court, Lawrence Public Library and the police department’s Investigations and Training Center.

Kansas’ “Personal and Family Protection Act,” passed in 2013, allowed for cities to prohibit concealed firearms in public buildings for a maximum of four years before complying. Lawrence approved a resolution in December 2013 to continue its prohibition of concealed weapons until the exemption ran out.

“That’s what we are currently under,” said Maria Kaminska Garcia, assistant city attorney. “When it expires, we either have to allow the carrying of concealed firearms inside of municipal buildings or install adequate security measures at all public entrances to keep weapons out.”

A draft of Lawrence’s five-year capital improvement plan, which was released Friday and comprises large projects, contains $114,600 in 2017 to install security equipment at those four buildings. Equipment would include metal detectors, which range from $5,000 to $6,000 each, Garcia said, as well as metal detector wands. The city is also looking into baggage screening machines, costing around $20,000 each.

The cost of armed guards for those four locations would be hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

According to documents released with the capital improvement plan, the four buildings were deemed “high priority” because of the number of people who visit them, “including persons who may become impassioned and emotional during their visit.”

There are 57 other buildings in Lawrence that can be accessed by the public and would be opened for concealed carry.

Garcia said Lawrence won’t move forward with installing equipment and hiring guards until the City Commission decides on how it wants to handle compliance with the new state law. The estimates for the four buildings serve as an example to city commissioners about the cost of compliance.

A date for the commissioners to discuss the issue has not been set, Garcia said.

But because funds are proposed through the 2017 budget, which commissioners will discuss in coming months and pass in August, conversations about security funding are likely to happen soon.

“This is just a proposal of what type of equipment and in what building,” Garcia said. “We have to stay tuned to see what the City Commission wants to do, so everything is tentative right now. This is the time they’re going to be discussing it.”

Estimates for armed guards for the four buildings range from $280,000 to $780,000 per year.

Each public entrance to the buildings would need two armed guards, the documents say. An additional person would be needed to cover absences.

The higher end, around $780,000, would be the cost if the city were to have police officers guard the buildings. The estimate for hiring guards through a private security company is $280,000, and hiring city employees, such as retired law enforcement officers, would cost around $420,000.

Garcia said there was some uncertainty about when security measures would need to be in place. Lawrence’s resolution states the city would be exempt until Jan. 1, 2018, but a law passed by the Legislature this year specifies that the exemptions end July 1, 2017.

The new bill is under review, Garcia said.

Comments

Kevin Millikan 1 year, 6 months ago

Sad, just sad.. you can change it people. elections are coming!

Steve Jacob 1 year, 6 months ago

How many entrances are at the Library?

Justin Hoffman 1 year, 6 months ago

This article warms my heart. Freedom rings in Kansas!! As far as Lawrence goes? Quit whining, you lost this one.

Cheryl Nelsen 1 year, 6 months ago

So, how do I have freedom when my tax money is spent building detectors and hiring guards? I do not feel any freedom when I have to be searched by a guard or walk between detectors. It makes me feel imprisoned.

Rex Hargis 1 year, 6 months ago

It's too bad the city is requiring this.

Nick Naidenov 1 year, 6 months ago

TSA searches at the library? So depressing....and what a vibe killer. Seems like letting the guns in would actually be more peaceful and cheaper.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 6 months ago

I gotcher something's concealed right heeeaaaahhhhh!!!!

Bob Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

The leader of the run-on-sentence-of-the-day race has been identified.

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 6 months ago

I can guarantee that the building in San Bernadino where 14 people were killed had one of those ubiquitous decals depicting a pistol with a red slash through it on every entrance door.

They are about as effective as yellow ribbons around trees and hashtags when it comes to people with ill intent.

Paul Beyer 1 year, 6 months ago

Just another cost imposed on the tax payers by the paranoid gun nuts.

Mike Riner 1 year, 6 months ago

On this very forum, back when some folks were deriding Obamacare, others were happily proclaiming "It's the law. Get over it!"
Well Paul....It's the law! Get over it!

Stacy Napier 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't think Paul is upset with the law. It's that the peoples republic of lawrence don't want to go along with Kansas Law, they want to make their own law. What if Lawrence said retired cops are not exempt and must give up their gun at the door? I wouldn't put it past them.

Bob Summers 1 year, 6 months ago

Banning paranoid gun nuts from having guns would be a good start for Lawrence. That way, the rest of us would be safer from the hoplophobes having a gun.

Andrew Applegarth 1 year, 6 months ago

Wrong again Paul. The cost is being imposed by the paranoid anti-gun nuts. Metal detectors and security guards are not required by the law nor are they being requested by 'gun nuts'. They are being requested by the same delusional folks who harbor this irrational belief that little plastic signs will protect them. Never mind all the mass shootings where the little plastic signs failed to do exactly that...

Nick Naidenov 1 year, 6 months ago

I have a hunch this has nothing to do with guns. I think it's just a law to punish liberal minded cities that don't vote GOP. But either way I think both sides are at fault. The conservatives are at fault for preaching small government while passing ridiculously unnecessary laws and liberals are at fault for being afraid of lawful gun owners.

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