Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sedgwick county is now the first county in Kansas to allow concealed weapons inside its county buildings.
The change comes after a four to one vote at Wednesday's county commission meeting, and one week after District Attorney Nola Foulston hand-delivered a letter urging leaders to reject the resolution.
Since January 2007, Kansas citizens who meet the requirements, and go through a training class, have been allowed to carry concealed guns in most public places across the state.
Until Wednesday Sedgwick County offices were not included.
"We don't have the right to restrict the rights of the people, based on a whim or public opinion," said Richard Ranzau, Sedgwick County Commissioner.
Commissioner Ranzau lead the charge to change the law.
During Wednesday morning's meeting, he also called out Foulston in the process, whose hand-delivered letter said changing the law, "Does not advance public safety and welfare."
"I find it particularly troubling when elected officials who have sworn an oath to the state of Kansas and the constitution, make public statements that are false and misleading in regards to this resolution," said Ranzau.
"The public does not need to justify to you or me, or any member of the government why they need to carry a weapon."
Commissioner Tim Norton disagreed, pointing out it is not about justification, it is about equalization. If state offices do not allow guns, he says county offices should not either.
"It's interesting to me that the legislation came out of Topeka, yet their own offices in our community are posted to not allow guns," said Norton.
Norton was in the minority.
Even though commissioners gave the go-ahead to carry concealed weapons in all Sedgwick county facilities, most say the public probably will not notice the change.
"I don't think the public will feel or notice much of anything on this," said Steve Claassen, Sedgwick county facilities director.
Commissioners passed the resolution by a vote of 4 to 1.
The change went into effect Wednesday, but does exclude 27 Sedgwick county businesses and offices, including the Sedgwick county courthouse, juvenile facilities and Intrust Bank Arena.