The Kansas Legislature passed and Governor Sam Brownback recently signed a law that authorizes the carrying of concealed weapons in state and municipal buildings.
The law will go into effect July 1, but allows cities to send a letter to the Kansas Attorney General requesting an extended exemption from the law until January 2014. School district buildings are exempt from this law and will continue to prohibit concealed carry of weapons.
McPherson city commissioners discussed submitting a letter of exemption during a study session Monday morning.
Under the new state law, cities have one of three choices: remove no-carry signs and allow concealed carry in municipal buildings; provide metal detectors, wands and personnel at each public entrance; or assess buildings and establish a security plan for each building.
If a security plan is established, the city is eligible for a four-year exemption from the new law.
McPherson city commissioners agreed to submit a request for extended exemption until January 2014 to allow more time to discuss how the city will adjust to the new law.
Nick Gregory, McPherson city administrator, said spending money on metal detectors would be tough to justify.
Rob McClarty, McPherson police chief, said he couldn't spend the manpower within the department to staff personnel at each municipal building.
Mayor Tom Brown said the extended exemption request will allow time to see if the Legislature will change or clarify anything within the new law.
For example, the new law includes conflicting language between sections two and nine. Section two of the bill says employees can't be restricted if they are concealed carry permit holders, while section nine says employees can be restricted if done in the city's personnel policies.
A decision on which outcome McPherson will take will be determined sometime during the exemption period. Commissioners will continue to discuss possible outcomes in the meantime.