Kansas has scored a landmark victory for gun rights with a new law that essentially invalidates “No Guns Allowed” signs. Individuals with concealed carry permits will be allowed to carry concealed weapons into any public building unless the entrance has enough security to ensure that no weapons are brought onto the premises.
The city of Lawrence may take a different route. The Lawrence City Commission voted to send a letter to the Kansas Attorney General requesting that the government buildings in the city be exempt from the new law. The motion was carried unanimously.
Lawrence officials don’t necessarily have a problem with guns in public building – the letter would not have any impact on privately-owned buildings. They simply want more time to set up proper security outside of government buildings.
"The law defines what adequate security measures are. That includes equipment such as metal detectors and wands and personnel to man those stations," said Toni Wheeler, the Lawrence City Attorney. He added, "Our preliminary review shows that the equipment will probably cost $5,000 for one metal detector. To have a police officer there to run the system, the annual beginning salary for a police officer is about $40,000."
The letter requests a six month exemption from the new law while the City of Lawrence works out how to scrape together money for the new security measures.
"The governor just singed the law a few weeks ago, so we haven't really identified pools of money yet to dedicate to this need. It is definitely a concern for the city manager who is getting ready to put together his budget recommendation for next year," Wheeler said.
The city of Lawrence probably won’t have the budget to add increased security to all 47 of the city’s government buildings. They will also use the time to decide which buildings need the extra security. Lawrence city manager David Corliss stated, "We're not going to be able to put metal detectors and somebody to operate them in all our facilities. It's not gonna happen.”