Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Kansas cities and counties are scrambling to comply with a new state law that will open many public buildings to people with permits to carry concealed handguns.
Firearms are not currently allowed in most public buildings in Kansas, but after July 1, cities and counties will have to spend a lot of additional money or change their firearms policies. One of the many local governments weighing the two options is the Butler County Commission, which discussed the issue Tuesday.
"In county buildings, private buildings; I think it should be allowed," El Dorado resident Elizabeth Garcia said.
Garcia is a concealed-carry permit holder so she's glad most of Butler County's public buildings will likely be options for those who wish to carry their guns inside.
"I feel that criminals can carry," she said.. "They don't really care about the law, so average citizens should be able to protect themselves and their family."
The new law requires cities, counties and public universities and colleges to have secure entrances to public buildings or allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their guns inside.
"You have to have a security plan in place that would probably include some type of metal detection at all of our facilities," Butler County Administrator William Johnson said. "We currently have 22 buildings in the county of which we only have metal detectors in two of those."
Johnson said Butler County cannot afford additional security measures, so he said the county will most likely allow concealed handguns inside every county building except in the court building and the county jail.
Stephanie Barton of El Dorado is not a permit holder, but she agrees with the likely changes.
"I think we have the right to protect ourselves and if we feel threatened, it's a good way to protect ourselves," Barton said.
Any local government can exempt itself from the new law until Jan. 1, 2014. After that, governments can apply for a four-year delay if they provide an adequate security plan.
Another provision of the law allows judges to ban guns from any courtroom.
"I do agree with that," Barton said. "I don't think guns should be allowed in the courtroom. I think that's pretty obvious."