LJWorld.com weblogs Town Talk

City estimates it may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to keep concealed weapons out of city buildings


It appears the city soon will have to buy hundreds thousands of dollars worth of security measures. Either that, or the city will have to learn to live with a new state law that would allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring firearms into City Hall and other city buildings.

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will consider formally asking the Kansas Attorney General for an exemption from the new state law until Jan. 1, 2014. The state law — approved by the legislature and signed by the governor this session — essentially contains an automatic one-year exemption period for local governments. The city also may be able to get three additional one-year exemptions, although that is less certain.

The law no longer allows city or county buildings to be posted with the "no gun" signs that make it illegal for anyone, including concealed-carry permit holders, to bring a concealed weapon into the buildings. Under the new law, governments can only post those signs if the buildings have adequate security measures, such as metal detectors and security officers.

Lawrence city officials have begun calculating the cost to purchase and staff such metal detectors. A memo from City Attorney Toni Wheeler estimates it will cost about $5,000 for each metal detector, plus at least $42,000 a year for a single police officer to staff the metal detector—and the Lawrence Police Department, Wheeler wrote, believes two officers may be necessary for each detector. That would place the annual operating costs for the program at more than $84,000 for each building with a detector. And the cost may be even greater, because the personnel numbers represent starting salaries and don’t factor in benefit costs or other costs to equip a police officer.

Wheeler says at least three city buildings — City Hall, Lawrence Municipal Court and the public access area of the Police Department’s Investigations and Training Center — all warrant consideration for security systems. Beyond those three, city commissioners also would have to decide whether recreation centers and other city offices need the security measures.

New security costs for the city are expected to be addressed in the City Manager’s recommended 2014 budget, which is scheduled to be released in July. The costs could add up. If the city decided to include recreation centers in the program, there would be a total of nine buildings to equip and staff. At a minimum of $42,000 per building, that's almost $400,000 a year, plus the cost of the metal detectors. At $84,000 per building — which would be the case if two officers are required — it would be more than $750,000 a year.

But say you wanted to have security measures in place for every city-owned building that currently prohibits concealed firearms. The city currently has 47 buildings listed in its administrative policy, which means it would cost $3.9 million to provide a two-member security detail at every location. That, of course, is not going to happen. It probably would be a bit odd to have a metal detector at the city’s Landscape Shop or the Wastewater Treatment Plant, for example. Those places probably will become buildings where concealed-carry permit holders can have a weapon.

It will be interesting to see how city commissioners react to the new legislation. The previous City Commission sent a letter to the legislature objecting to the bill while it was under consideration. Whether the city’s objections rise to the level of spending more than a half-million dollars on security each year, I don’t know. The city already spends some money on security: a police officer attends each Lawrence City Commission meeting, and a bailiff is employed by the Lawrence Municipal Court.

If the city gets serious about installing metal detectors, there will be quite a few items to discuss. It probably would require the public entrances at City Hall to be changed significantly, since there are three ways for the public to enter City Hall. The city also could have a discussion about whether security officers — rather than fully sworn police officers — would be appropriate to staff the metal detectors. That may reduce the personnel cost for a security program.

And then there are city buildings such as the Lawrence Public Library and the Lawrence Arts Center that attract large crowds on a regular basis. How would they be secured and staffed?

Of course, the city always could have the discussion of whether any harm would come from allowing licensed individuals to carry a weapon in city buildings. According to the Kansas Attorney General’s office, it already is legal for concealed-carry permit holders to carry a weapon on various pieces of city property. Every city-owned park, for example, is a place where concealed-carry permit holders are entitled to have a weapon. “Parks, parking lots and other open public property" are no longer able to be restricted through signs, according to the Attorney General’s Web site. That didn’t always use to be the case, but the law was changed, I believe, during the 2010 legislative session.

City commissioners won’t be the only ones that get to have this fun. Douglas County also will have to go through the same exercise with its buildings, although it already has a metal detector for the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center. Public schools won’t have to install metal detectors under the new law. School officials can continue to post the "no gun" signs on school buildings, which will make it illegal for concealed-carry permit holders to bring a weapon into the building.


thisismyvoice 4 years ago

Just let them in. Make sure that our city employees behave in an upright and honest manner. Then all shall be well.

Liberty275 4 years ago

I wouldn't call our public servants a threat, just a little annoying sometimes. Not bad though, really.

Steve Jacob 4 years ago

Then the city employees should be able to carry to protect themselves from the public.

In_God_we_trust 4 years ago

The Kansas Constitution states that people have the right to carry firearms at their abode or at their place of business. No CC is needed.

jafs 4 years ago

Source? I didn't find that in the constitution.

Jonathan Fox 4 years ago

Because that no-gun sign has been what's keeping criminals from entering city hall with a gun all these years...

frankfussman 4 years ago

I am still waiting for two concealed-weapons-carrying individuals to get into a gun fight, and see who dies.

chzypoof1 4 years ago

Don't waste our tax dollars trying to avoid a law passed by the state. Concealed Carry owners are the LEAST of your worries. The cute little sign doesn't stop criminals from carrying anytime they would like. This will only stop law abiding citizens from exercising their right to carry.

While we are at it, let's build a couple more rec centers and 3 more libraries. Would make more sense to waste the $$$ that way.

question4u 4 years ago

"Don't waste our tax dollars trying to avoid a law passed by the state."

Because here in Kansas we only waste tax dollars trying to avoid laws passed by the federal government. Hypocrisy is the Kansas way.

coebam 4 years ago

Amazing ignorance. Do the city commisoners realize how extensive the back ground check is to legally carry a concealed firearm? Security was not a big enough priority before the law because no one was going to be in a govt building with a weapon - legally or not. Why are they so concerened all of a sudden? The CCL permit holder IS the least of your worries. If they install these metal detectors it will be the biggest waste of money in a decade or better. Wake up folks!

elliottaw 4 years ago

its not that tough to pass, if you haven't been arrested or thrown in a mental hospital you can get one

patkindle 4 years ago

if a thug or a nut case wants to bring in a gun, they will anyway

Liberty275 4 years ago

Can it be "The Democratic People's Republic of Lawrence"? Lots of Democrats around here.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years ago

twosides, then see if people can recognize their own gun as they leave to retrieve.

Of course, the simplest thing is to take the signs off all the buildings. I have no idea how much it would cost to hire someone to scrape them off and properly dispose of them.

jack22 4 years ago

A couple hundred thousand dollars a year? No worries, Lawrence is ripe with cash because of all the money we've saved by not updating our police department, fixing our crumbling roads, sewer system, and other infrastructure. Heck, we'll be spending way more than a few hundred thousand a year on the maintenance of the new recreation center we're building. Maybe we should just ask Fritzel to work it into the budget as an add on to the 30 million we've already blindly decided to give to him to build us that expensive warehouse with locker rooms and basketball courts?

MarcoPogo 4 years ago

Maybe they could print out some 3-D metal detectors.

Catalano 4 years ago

Silly. You know you can't print out 3-D metal objects. But you could print out some 3-D security guards with 3-D weapons to guard the doors! Better yet...print out a 3-D city commission and city staff and city hall, too! Then create a secret place for the humans to meet and work and don't tell anybody. What's a minor violation of the Open Meetings Act to keep everyone safe? I cannot believe our founding fathers did not have the foresight to address this 3-D issue.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Big government at work by the anti big government phonies.....

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Has Fritzel paid his $50,000 fine for not following approved site plans?

Liberty275 4 years ago

CC hilders didn't pay the money and take the test to be a threat. The threat just skips the test, keep the money, ignore the sign then commit whatever vile act his little devil inside makes him do.

We are punishing the people that demonstrate they will follow the law and ignoring the ones that break the law. It has become the American way.

Jeremiah Jefferson 4 years ago

"Silly. You know you can't print out 3-D metal objects. But you could print out some 3-D security guards with 3-D weapons to guard the doors! Better yet...print out a 3-D city commission and city staff and city hall, too! Then create a secret place for the humans to meet and work and don't tell anybody. What's a minor violation of the Open Meetings Act to keep everyone safe? I cannot believe our founding fathers did not have the foresight to address this 3-D issue."

Actually, they have incorporated 3D cardboard cut outs of Police officers in highly populated parts of India to curb speeding and so far it has worked. But to add to your statement, if your going to do all that, you may as well do it like the kid on Home Alone with motorized 3D cardboard cut outs of city workers, then send all the real city employees home who do nothing anyway with a check and get the same results you have now. Course if we do that, who will do all the harassing of the working middle class people?

Catalano 4 years ago

Then let's hire the FX director of "Home Alone"! :)

jafs 4 years ago

Did the fellow who shot himself in a restaurant in KS lose his permit?

Argue with the state - they're the ones who passed this law.

jafs 4 years ago


That doesn't say he's lost his CC permit. Has he?

thatguyoverthere 4 years ago

"The law no longer allows city or county buildings to be posted with the "no gun" signs that make it illegal for anyone, including concealed-carry permit holders, to bring a concealed weapon into the buildings."

If someone is carrying with out a permit they are already breaking the law, a sign will not change that.

If someone is carrying openly with intent on shooting someone, a sign will not change that.

Unless I'm wrong, I thought that the signs are only there to prevent CCH holders from carrying into the facility and had no real weight before the CCH law was passed.

Paul R Getto 4 years ago

More smaller goverment, as 31% Sam promised.

James Minor 4 years ago

Instead of trying to fight the CC law. Someone should start a gun making business in Lawrence. Smith & Wesson, Remington, Glock, etc, is making a big profit in the gun industry. The new business will help lower the unemployment in Lawrence instead of waiting for all the CCHs to start shooting each other -- and us.

50YearResident 4 years ago

It won't cost the City 1 red cent to let this law go into effect. It is not necessary to put in metal detectors and armed guards just because it is now legal for concealed permit holders to enter the buildings. It has been over 5 years now that concealed guns have been legal and there has "NOT" been the first person injured or killed because of concealed carry.

All the city has to do is let the new Law take effect and there is no need to spend any money for metal detectors and armed guards. This story is causing alarm where no alarm is due.

jafs 4 years ago

Well, the guy in a restaurant who shot himself would be an injury.

juma 4 years ago

I keep asking this question of all you CC advocates; what happened to the F...g idiot that shot his wife in the restaurant?? He had a CC was, according to you all, a legal responsible person. So what happened and how did such an idiot get a CC?????

50YearResident 4 years ago

Did you read the story. If you did, you should know the answer. However I will clear it up for you. He dropped his gun and it accidently discharged when it hit the floor. It was an accident, now is that to hard for you to understand? It was not an intentional act, just like every car accident that happens on the roads everyday, accidents happen..

Evan Ridenour 4 years ago

Yes... the vast majority of the tens of thousands of gun deaths that occur in this country annually are ACCIDENTS. Maybe, just maybe, that is why people like me, don't want people like you needlessly carrying around firearms 24/7.

optimist 4 years ago

False. Most firearms deaths do not occurs as a result of accidents.

jafs 4 years ago

When did I ever do anything like that???

50 YR stated that there's never been an injury or death involving a CC holder and I presented an example of one.

coebam 4 years ago

actually what happend was he was reaching in his pocket and accidently discharged the pistol while it was in his pocket. a co-worker was there when it happend. it is illegal to consume alcholic beverages while carrying concealed in a bar/restraunt.

coebam 4 years ago

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/06/4104612/man-charged-in-accidental-shooting.html it's one person out of approx 65K people in the state that carry. yes he was neglagent. yes he is an idiot. Yes he broke the law consuming alcohol while carrying. He is facing serious charges, and he will never get a CCL again.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years ago

All permit holders at the least have had background checks, and a safety class with range qualification. What is the big deal? Also, there are active and certain retired peace officers that carry concealed under a federal law, Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, LEOSA. Retired officers must qualify yearly, shooting the same course as full time peace officers. Our authority is nationwide, but we must obey all laws and regulations. I have no problem obeying the law, I enforced it for some 30 years. Law abiding citizens with concealed carry permits do not bother me a bit. I testified at the capital and helped get the law passed. I disagree with spending the huge amount of taxpayer's money cited in this article to keep concealed carry permit holders out of city buildings.

jafs 4 years ago

Your Christianity is a bit lacking in this comment.

Also, it's the state requiring those things if places want to be "gun free", not the city.

50YearResident 4 years ago

Try to understand your own statement, jafs, the State only requires the metal detectors if the city wants the buildings to be gun free. It is not mandatory or required for any other reason. So ask yourself why does the city think it is necessary to spend any money at all. There is now 6 years of history with no incidents of gun problems in public buildings, why would there be any now? Nothing has changed.

jafs 4 years ago

Not at all - I majored in religious studies, seriously considered the ministry and have had a lifelong interest in religion and spirituality.

"Typical knee jerk reactions from a group of cowards" is hardly a Christ like sentiment or expression.

But, if you're like many Christians, you're less interested in Christ's life and message and more interested in "believing in him", which I've always found puzzling.

By the way, I meant to express my gladness and support for your newfound spirituality if it's made you happier and a better person - has it?

jafs 4 years ago

Correction: The guy in Lenexa shot his wife, not himself. And he didn't drop the gun, he reached into his pocket and it went off.

optimist 4 years ago

Exactly. He made the error of putting his keys in the same pocket as his firearm and while reaching into his pocket the key struck the trigger causing it to go off. It was a fluke and probably far less likely to happen than getting shot in a movie theater or other public place by a mad man on a rampage.

jafs 4 years ago

"He dropped his gun and it accidentally discharged when it hit the floor"

Seems like you ought to follow your own advice, hmm? At least I posted the correction - you didn't.

coebam 4 years ago

If his firearm were properly holstered the ND would never have happend. The guy is irresponsible and careless. He is now paying for his actions.

optimist 4 years ago

Seems we are more concerned with keeping law abiding citizens authorized to carry firearms concealed after going through an extensive background check from carrying inside city structures and less concerned with criminals that will conceal a weapon and carry it right past that sign if they have deadly intentions. In the nearly 7 years since the implementation of concealed carry I am not aware of a murder, mass shooting or other violent crime committed by a concealed carry holder using a firearm. Plenty of criminals with illegally owned firearms have committed numerous violent crimes in that time however.

In_God_we_trust 4 years ago

The Kansas Constitution states the right to carry firearms at your home (abode) or at your place of work or business. Looks like the city can save their money.

jafs 4 years ago

Do you have a link?

All I found was the KS bill of rights, section 4, which just says you have the right to keep and bear arms, not to bring it to your workplace.

In_God_we_trust 4 years ago

@jafs, It is not the Kansas Constitution that I found it a couple years ago, but rather Kansas Statute KSA 21-4201. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, it's a good refresher. It's been a while since I have looked, a lot of stuff has changed. But point "(4) carrying any pistol, revolver or other firearm concealed on one's person except when on the person's land or in the person's abode or fixed place of business;" Link is at: http://kansasstatutes.lesterama.org/Chapter_21/Article_42/21-4201.html

jafs 4 years ago


That's interesting - certainly looks as though people have that right here.

But it would only apply to those that work in the buildings, not visitors. In fact, the statute makes it a crime to carry concealed anywhere other than your own land, house or job.

coebam 4 years ago

BINGO! jafs - That is why we go apply and get the license to legally carry a firearm concealed. We are law abiding citizens. Beleive it or not, we aren't blood thirsty trigger happy monsters. We understand there are real threats in socitey and we choose to be prepared in case something terrible happens. I feel it is MY responsibity to protect my loved ones. If you feel safe knowing the police are minutes away when seconds count...More power to you my friend.

verity 4 years ago

"fixed place of business"

Curious as to whether that means any person at their job or the person who owns the business.

In_God_we_trust 4 years ago

I take it to mean any person at their job that goes to a fixed place, not a place that is constantly mobile.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.