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Concealed Carry Carries The Day

KSAL Staff - December 17, 2013 11:23 am

A law taking effect Monday allows people with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns into public buildings.

The Topeka Capital-Journal:

The Wichita City Council on Tuesday shunned its option to seek a four-year exemption from Kansas’ enhanced concealed carry law and voted to allow permit holders to carry their guns in almost all city-owned buildings.

Many municipalities and other government entities, including the Kansas Board of Regents, have opted for the multiyear exemption offered under the law, passed by the 2012 Legislature. It won’t be a surprise if many of them finally decide to allow concealed carry due to the cost of installing the required security measures and liability concerns.

Those issues prompted Wichita’s council members to open all but 16 of 107 city-owned buildings to concealed carry beginning Jan. 1. Some council members questioned whether the city could afford to provide adequate security, which they said was not clearly defined in the statute, and expressed concerns about the city’s liability if it installed security that could be found less than adequate.

A deputy city attorney told them the only way to be immune from liability was to allow concealed carry in its buildings.

The law, which went into effect July 1, required most public buildings to allow concealed carry. Local governments can exempt buildings if they are properly posted and adequate security is provided. Government entities had the option of seeking a six-month exemption and until Jan. 1 to develop security plans or decide whether to seek a four-year exemption, which would give them time to fund and install the required security measures.

Topeka, Shawnee County, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority and Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority have filed for, or are considering seeking, four-year exemptions, although some city and county building are in compliance because they have the required posting and security measures in place. Topeka Municipal Court and the Shawnee County Courthouse employ metal detectors and armed guards.

Metal detectors, or other screening devices, and armed guards would appear to meet the statutory requirement for “adequate security.” Whether lesser measures would pass muster is unknown, but any government entity that tries to install less likely would be challenged.

Obviously, the cost of installing security will vary depending on the number of buildings a local government wants to exempt from concealed carry. But those costs may be deemed too high by some municipalities with a lot of buildings or a small municipality with a corresponding tax base.

It wouldn’t be surprising, when the four-year exemptions expire, to find elected officials across the state have come to the conclusion Wichita’s council members reached Tuesday. The exemptions aren’t worth the cost of installing security and the angst over the liability issue.

Opinion by: The Topeka Capital-Journal

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