Kansas counties struggle with plans for concealed carry law

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WICHITA -- Hundreds of leaders from across the state gathered for the Kansas Association of Counties on Monday.

One of the hot topics at the convention is the state's new concealed carry law.

"This is a critical opportunity for us to learn from each other and to hear what's going on in other parts of the state," said Harper County Administrator Al Roder.

Roder and Phyllis Gettler admit the law is confusing. They are two of the dozens of administrators concerned about the future of enforcing the concealed carry law.

"It is going to change a lot of things," said Gettler, who is the Anderson County clerk. "We're very small and we basically know everybody, but there are people walking in the courthouse that we don't know and we just kind of take it for granted and everybody's cool and everybody's safe and it's not that way anymore."

This summer, lawmakers voted on an amendment to allow people to carry weapons with a permit.

By Jan. 1, counties and cities must decide if they'll ban concealed weapons in government buildings, said Melissa Wangeman, an attorney for the Kansas Association of Counties.

Yet, for smaller counties, one of the biggest challenges is enforcement. Roder says election polls will be a place he's concerned with protecting -- and the cost that goes with it.

"There's a lot of ways to protect the staff of the courthouse against concealed carry issues or gun violence, but there's a cost that go with that," he said.

Some local government leaders said they are going to ask to be temporarily exempt from the law.

They have to submit a letter to the attorney general's office, requesting to have en extension of up to four years to create security measures for local government buildings.

Wangemen said that each city and county government building will rule on the law differently. She said if a person does carry a concealed weapon with a permit, they should keep an eye out for signs, which will be required outside local government buildings.

If a person does bring a weapon into the building, they may be asked to leave the property. If that person refuses, they could be arrested for trespassing.

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