Tighter security, gun ban under consideration for Kansas State Fair concerts

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

"I've always felt safe there."

Jennifer McConachie enjoys a good concert and has occasionally made the trek up to the state fair in Hutchinson to catch a show.  Tighter security she says wouldn't change that.

"I don't really think that it would affect my decision to go," McConachie said.  "But it's always nice to know that precautions are being taken."

This year one performer, Billy Currington, put tighter security in his contract, including banning guns and searching bags for other prohibited items.  Searches similar to those performed before most concerts at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita delayed the concert's start in Hutchinson this week.

While a large part of the search was for weapons, the state fair's general manager says this is a bigger issue.

"It's totally more than a gun issue.  Everything that Currington wanted restricted, we already restrict.  There's a sign up that says you can't bring this, this and this.  But we've never checked," Robin Jennison said.

He added that the Kansas Attorney General ruled the fair can check and that's likely to happen more often in coming years.

"We're told these requests are coming more and more," Jennison said.  "And I think the question that our board needs to answer is if we want to have those kind of acts in Kansas we may have to do more of this."

Jennison says while a restriction on bag size, or requiring clear bags, is likely to come next year, the fair board has made no decisions yet. 

He says any restrictions on guns would likely come only if the performer requires it as part of the concert contract.

Tighter security, banning guns, searching bags, all something concert goers like Jennifer told KAKE News on Monday that they're fine with.

"I think that that's a good move across the board, state fair or anywhere," McConachie said.  "Safety is important."

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