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New gun signThe Kansas attorney general says municipalities and the state will have to post new "no-gun" signs at the public entrances of all public buildings that will be exempted from the new concealed carry law going into effect July 1.
New gun sign
Unified Government officials had done everything necessary to exempt city, county and Board of Public Utilities buildings from the concealed carry law that went into effect July 1.
The six-month exemption measure was passed at the June 20 UG Commission meeting, and listed 22 pages with around 650 addresses of municipal and BPU buildings and locations for the exemption. Apparently some of the addresses are local park buildings, as well as government buildings such as City Hall.
But last week Attorney General Derek Schmidt threw a curve ball their way. He issued a directive to change each of the signs on all municipal and state buildings exempt from concealed carry. Signs are required at each public entrance.
Local officials had less than a week to get signs placed. “No gun” signs already were posted at the public entrances of each municipal building in Kansas City, Kan. The new proposal added words to the sign stating that the buildings were exempt from the new state law because they either have a temporary exemption or have adequate security.
Throughout the state, cities and counties were passing resolutions recently to exempt themselves from the new law, in order to continue banning guns from City Halls, courthouses and other public buildings.
The new sign proposal is a temporary regulation and permanent regulations also are being considered, according to the attorney general’s news release.
The new state law allowed concealed carry of firearms inside local and state government-owned buildings in Kansas, unless the governments take steps to ensure security at each entrance, or unless they applied for an exemption. Those carrying concealed weapons would have to have concealed carry permits issued by the attorney general's office.
The UG applied for the six-month exemption, during which the local government will have time to decide what it will do about it.
“This six-month exemption was put into place to give local governments the chance to figure out how they will respond to the law in the long term,” stated Mike Taylor, UG public relations director.
Between now and Jan. 1, the UG is planning to conduct surveys of all buildings and create security plans for each one, he stated. These plans could be submitted to the attorney general, saying the UG would not allow concealed carry for the next four years. That exemption would be good only for four years, he stated.
After four years, unless the law is changed, the UG would be required to allow concealed carry into all buildings that don’t have adequate security, which means security guards and metal detectors, he stated.
Another alternative, according to Taylor, is that the UG Commission could decide not to take the four-year exemption and allow concealed carry sooner.
BPU spokesman David Mehlhaff said visitors will not be allowed to carry weapons into BPU buildings. The BPU has passed a resolution for the exemption to the concealed carry law. Mehlhaff said the BPU would comply with all regulations.
Michael Webb, city administrator of Edwardsville, Kan., said the Edwardsville council has approved an extension of time for an exemption from the new concealed carry law.
"That gives us the opportunity to review the law and understand all of its significance, and still maintain the prohibition of concealed weapons into public buildings," Webb said. He added the city wanted to make sure it understands all the issues related to this new legislation. Edwardsville will be complying with the new sign rule, he said. Webb noted there were an area in the new law where the language conflicted on city employees carrying guns, and that would have to be clarified.
Schools are under some slightly different rules, which allow the district to approve selected employees to carry guns. However, it was recently reported that some insurance companies say they’ll cancel schools’ insurance policies if persons other than police and security officers are allowed to carry guns inside schools, said Rep. Val Winn, D-34th Dist.
Rep. Winn said she had not been aware of any requirement in the law to post new “no-gun” signs. She noted she was able to get the state School for the Blind and the state School for the Deaf exempted from the new concealed carry law.
The new law does have language referring to the “building is posted in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the attorney general.”
At Kansas City Kansas Community College, the Board of Trustees voted to exempt the buildings under the provisions for exemptions for higher education buildings, said Brian Bode, KCKCC vice president of student and administrative services. A special meeting was called last week to approve the resolution for a four-year exemption. So, essentially, guns are still not allowed on campus, and concealed carry is not allowed there, he said.
Many entrances at the college buildings were affected, he said, and all the old “no gun” signs had to be taken down and the new ones installed, he said.
Bode said the Board of Trustees has directed a study about the cost of putting adequate security into the campus. If the college were to provide a security guard and metal detector at each entrance, it would probably have to severely restrict entrances, and close most entrances, funneling people through a few doors, he said. Some of the existing doors might have to be turned into exits only if the board chooses the adequate security option. Besides all the buildings on campus, the college has new TEC centers that also would be affected.
“It would be extremely difficult and expensive,” he said. “We haven’t done all the research yet, so it’s just my opinion.”
The new legislation that went into effect July 1 does not affect privately owned buildings, including privately owned buildings leased to the state, cities or counties, according to the attorney general’s website. Secure areas of jails, police stations, and courtrooms, if the chief judge prohibits firearms, are not affected by the new law.
The state of Kansas office buildings will allow concealed carry starting July 1, according to a news release from the state Department of Administration. Those who carry concealed weapons into state office buildings must be licensed to carry concealed guns.
Concealed carry will be allowed in public buildings managed by the state of Kansas that are not exempted in the law, according to the statement. That law lists several exempted state buildings.
According to state officials, the state is trying to comply with the intent of the new law. According to the news release, the law defines a state or municipal building as “a building owned or leased by such public entity.” The Department of Administration interprets the definition of a building leased by the state to include free standing buildings in which the state is the sole tenant.
In order to get clarification from the attorney general on how the law should be applied to leased premises within a building where the state is not the sole tenant, the Department of Administration will exercise a six-month exemption for those properties, according to the news release.
The concealed carry bill that was passed is online at http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2052/.
The attorney general’s statements are online at http://ag.ks.gov/media-center/news-releases/2013/06/26/ag-schmidt-releases-guidance-on-new-concealed-carry-law.
Questions and answers from the attorney general on the concealed carry changes are online at http://ag.ks.gov/docs/default-source/documents/2013-concealed-carry-legislative-changes---faqs.pdf.
- Updated July 1, 2013