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All of Lawrence’s public buildings to allow concealed firearms starting Jan. 1

Starting next year, concealed guns will be allowed in all of the City of Lawrence's more than 20 buildings.

Starting next year, concealed guns will be allowed in all of the City of Lawrence's more than 20 buildings.

October 29, 2017

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Beginning next year, all of the city’s 20-plus public buildings will allow concealed firearms.

Jan. 1 marks the end of the city’s exemption to the state concealed carry law, and with it the ability to ban firearms with only a sticker on the door. If the city wants to prohibit concealed weapons from spaces such as City Hall, the Lawrence Public Library or the Municipal Court, it must provide much more security.

“Our exemption expires at the end of the year,” City Attorney Toni Wheeler said. “And we are not going to be in a position to ban concealed carry in public buildings, including Municipal Court, because we won’t have those adequate security measures as defined by that statute in place.”

The Kansas concealed carry law, the Personal and Family Protection Act, allows people to have concealed weapons in public buildings that don’t provide “adequate security measures.” Specifically, Wheeler said the law would require city buildings to have metal detectors and security guards in place.

Mayor Leslie Soden said she's open to discussion about adding such security to some city buildings, but that the city’s budget is key in that consideration.

“I’d like to learn more about it,” Soden said. “Of course, cost is a real factor to consider for those items.”

Even for just a handful of buildings, those equipment and personnel costs would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Estimates made last year said that to equip four of the most frequently visited city buildings — City Hall, Municipal Court, the library and the police department’s Investigations and Training Center — would cost between $530,000 and $895,000, depending on personnel salaries.

Although Wheeler said the city does not have plans to add the security required by state law to any of its buildings for Jan. 1, some plans for the Municipal Court are in motion for the future.

The city’s 2018 capital improvement plan includes $114,600 for “adequate security measures,” which Finance Director Bryan Kidney said would include walk-through metal detectors, metal detector wands and baggage-screening machines. There is also $49,000 allocated in next year’s operational budget for an additional part-time security guard position at Municipal Court.

Wheeler said the CIP equipment funds are more of a “placeholder” but that the city is preparing to fill the security guard position in order to have two armed security guards available for the court at the beginning of the year. The city leases the Municipal Court building, and Wheeler said if the city is able to relocate the court, the CIP funds provide the opportunity to meet the state requirements to ban concealed weapons.

There are already metal detectors and guards at the entrance of the county-owned building that houses the Douglas County District Court and the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, which is one of three buildings used by the Lawrence Police Department.

Soden said that the Municipal Court and the police department’s Investigations and Training Center, because of their nature, are buildings to which the city has considered adding the security that is needed to ban concealed weapons. As far as recreational buildings, such as the public library, Soden said she is more hesitant.

“I know there are some people really concerned about it, but that’s quite a message to be sending at the library if we feel like we need to put metal detectors there,” Soden said.

But Soden said her opinions aren’t set in stone, and she wants to hear what city staff thinks about what is needed. Above all, she said she is most interested in consolidating buildings, such as law enforcement or courts, to save on security and other costs.

“That’s what I’m most looking forward to talking about,” Soden said.

City Manager Tom Markus has proposed consolidating multiple city facilities to operate more efficiently, including combining courts and law enforcement facilities. Wheeler said she doesn’t currently have an update on those plans but that she thinks some public discussions of consolidations will be coming up fairly soon.

If so, the city will have some options. Wheeler said the $114,600 would be enough to purchase security equipment for multiple buildings, but that if the city wants to ban concealed weapons at any location, it would also need to allocate more money to fund security guards. She said that would have to budgeted for in advance, likely as part of the annual budget process.

“It’s not a small price tag, so it would require some planning,” Wheeler said.

Regardless, Wheeler said the city still has the ability to regulate the open carry of weapons, and the city attorney’s office is planning to bring a recommendation to the City Commission to do so before the end of the year.

Comments

Josh Berg 1 month, 1 week ago

What is Paul Beyer ever going to do with all the "gun nuts" walking around in public buildings?

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

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

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

He'll continue to be the same little ray of sunshine he's always been.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

Another snarky comment that has no place in this public forum.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

"...Why should only a part of the population be armed and most untrained. Let's arm everybody and make sure they are also untrained. It's more fun that way..." Another snarky comment that has no place in this public forum. Sauce goose, sauce gander.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

I was not being snarky in that comment you quoted. I was using the reductio ad absurdum form of argumentation to make a point. You, on the other hand, make snarky comments to trash those you disagree with.

Josh Berg 1 month, 1 week ago

You do realize that Paul is the king of snarky comments? I would never have given him a second thought if he would regularly contribute to discussions without name calling and berating people.

William Cummings 1 month, 1 week ago

Paul Beyer is a troll, as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

What you have to remember is that when someone resorts to insults it is an active admission that they have no real argument.

Paul Beyer 1 month, 1 week ago

Actually the only public building I ever use is the library. Since the average gun nut lacks the IQ or intellectual interests to go there, I don't see a problem.

Scott Burkhart 1 month, 1 week ago

"Since the average gun nut lacks the IQ or intellectual interests to go there, I don't see a problem."

Funny, that's how I feel about you and common sense.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

Paul, it's funny how you can make personal insults right, left and center, but when someone turns the tables on you, the post gets removed.

Josh Berg 1 month, 1 week ago

So you are saying that the majority of the people in this State lack the IQ to go to the library? I did not know you were allowed within 500 feet of places like that.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

Libby is another lousy, rotten spammer.

Larry Sturm 1 month, 1 week ago

Open or concealed carry does not make anyone safer it makes you a target.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

If you are doing concealed carry properly, the miscreants will not know you are armed.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

So, while you're trying to get your gun out and the "miscreant" already has his out, you will not just be a target, you might be dead!

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

Well, suppose as you're trying to play the part of Matt Dillon, you miss your intended target and for whatever reason you miss your target and kill an innocent bystander. I would say that's a problem, don't you think?

The assumption made by those advocating carrying weapons is that of course, they won't miss, because of course they have been trained not only in gun safety but in the tactics one should use in a tense situation where someone already has a gun out looking for a person to shoot. I would be willing to bet that none of these folks have spent time in a simulator to to be trained in those kind of tactics.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 1 month, 1 week ago

They need to move the municipal court into the law enforcement and judicial building. Though I support the new law, I do not support bringing firearms into court, except by peace officers.

Ocel Black 1 month, 1 week ago

Are you sure that is a good idea, LEOs commit 5 to 10 times more violent crimes than people with concealed carry permits.

Francis Hunt 1 month, 1 week ago

Charles, have you been in the law enforcement and judicial building? While it sounds like a good idea the building is bursting at the seams, there isn't anywhere to put them.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

The link you provided is interesting but misleading.

It suggests that over a thousand CC permit holders committed murder, but it includes suicides, unintentional killings, LEO shootings and admits there isn’ta comprehensive federal database of concealed carry incidents. Thus, these are uncollaberated numbers.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

No killing is not killing. How often do you hear a person who committed suicide refered to as a killer? Different classifications or killing for a reason.

Not all killings are murder.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 1 week ago

All the time. A suicide killed him/herself. A toddler killed his Grandfather. An 8-year-old, killed his brother. You murdered yourself in suicide, and whoever left the gun out of a child to get murdered whoever died.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

Dot why do you write without thinking or Researching?

None of the examples you provided are murder. I pasted the definition for you. And I said when do you hear a suicide victim referred to as a “Killer”. Pay attention please.

murder n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority. In those clear circumstances, this is first degree murder. By statute, many states consider a killing in which there is torture, movement of the person before the killing (kidnapping) or the death of a police officer or prison guard, or it was as an incident to another crime (as during a hold-up or rape), to be first degree murder, with or without premeditation and with malice presumed. Second degree murder is such a killing without premeditation, as in the heat of passion or in a sudden quarrel or fight. Malice in second degree murder may be implied from a death due to the reckless lack of concern for the life of others (such as firing a gun into a crowd or bashing someone with any deadly weapon). Depending on the circumstances and state laws, murder in the first or second degree may be chargeable to a person who did not actually kill, but was involved in a crime with a partner who actually did the killing or someone died as the result of the crime. Example: In a liquor store stick-up in which the clerk shoots back at the hold-up man and kills a bystander, the armed robber can be convicted of at least second degree murder. A charge of murder requires that the victim must die within a year of the attack. Death of an unborn child who is "quick" (fetus is moving) can be murder, provided there was premeditation, malice and no legal authority. Thus, abortion is not murder under the law. Example: Jack Violent shoots his pregnant girlfriend, killing the fetus. Manslaughter, both voluntary and involuntary, lacks the element of malice aforethought.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 1 week ago

And thus Dorothy Hoyt-Reed unequivocally declares that abortion is murder.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

Not to mention callously labeling suicide victims as killers. No class.

William Cummings 1 month, 1 week ago

The use of the word "killer" was misleading and provocative. Nonetheless, suicides should be part of the discussion on gun violence. Suicide can be every bit as much of a tragedy as a homicide. A US department of Veterans Affairs study suggests that 22 veterans commit suicide per day, Half of all suicides are committed with firearms.

You are correct, there is no federal database, largely due to the fact that congress cut CDC funding for firearms violence related research, at the behest of the NRA. That was precisely one of the points of interest in the article. The other article [from Stanford] had a similar statement. “The committee found that answers to some of the most pressing questions cannot be addressed with existing data and research methods, however well designed,”

My view is that the lack of adequate and ongoing research aimed at treating the gun violence problem in the US like any other public health problem is a poor prioritization of public resources.

Brock Masters 1 month, 1 week ago

I agree with you on both points. Suicide is a tragedy and we must work together to ensure affordable access to mental health professionals. And we should study violence to look for the root causes to stop violence to the degree possible.

We must also start caring for our vets, really caring for them. They sacrificed for this country and we owe them.

Helen Thomas 1 month, 1 week ago

Why don't they just save their money? Our public buildings in my state have been open to concealed carriers for years without incident.

Ocel Black 1 month, 1 week ago

If you have a weapon you can decide not to use it, if you don't you have no choice except to meekly submit.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

In real life, this isn't the modern version of Gunsmoke. If someone already has a a weapon drawn and you are fumbling with yours to get it out of its holster, you are more likely to be shot than if you didn't. It's not rocket science, you know.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

Do you have a spare tire in your vehicle? Same reason.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 1 week ago

No, not really. It's fear. I carry a spare tire because I know that sooner or later there is a strong likelihood I'm going to have to use it. If you have the same reason about the gun you carry, you have a serious problem with how you view other people or else you like going into situations where you are more likely to be attacked.

Josh Berg 1 month, 1 week ago

To protect from all the people that vote for your candidates

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 1 week ago

Makes them feel big and powerful.

Usually compensating for something.

John Kyle 1 month, 1 week ago

“I’d like to learn more about it,” Soden said. “Of course, cost is a real factor to consider for those items.”

Typical Do-Nothing-Leslie. You've had several years to prepare for this and with two months left you decide to 'learn more about it'? Can't wait for her to come up for re-election.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 1 week ago

Oh good.

Wouldn't want those gun nuts to have to go even a minute without their codpieces.

Bob Smith 1 month, 1 week ago

Danny, you seem unable to tell the difference between a firearm and an organ of generation. Must lead to exciting times around your house.

Kathleen Christian 1 month, 1 week ago

Well I'll be sure to avoid as many building downtown as often as possible. I can always shop online from home.

Josh Berg 1 month, 1 week ago

You do realize that you pass by people who lawfully conceal and carry every day when your downtown? Were you any less safe all those other times? You really let an LJWorld article scare you into not shopping downtown?

Tom Thomson 1 month, 1 week ago

Not just downtown, but pretty much everywhere Kathleen might go during the day. Dillons, The Merc, Starbucks, etc, etc, etc...

Bob Summers 1 month, 1 week ago

I'm never going to pay my taxes or utilities again since there might be a gun in the government building held by a Liberal.

My word this is frightening.

Ban Liberals from having guns now!

Francis Hunt 1 month, 1 week ago

Another example of Lawrence city leaders showing their inability to prioritize. They have known about this for a few years. Did they budget for it? No. Did they instead budget and spend on less than priority projects? Yes. They could have easily budgeted and planned for this over the past few years and could have been prepared but they didn't. Guns in municipal court, thank you Lawrence for once again prioritizing the safety of your citizens.

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