McPherson County commissioners chose not to apply for an extended exemption from a new concealed carry law during its meeting Tuesday.
The Kansas State Legislature recently passed a bill that allows licensed persons to carry concealed weaponry into state or municipal buildings.
The new law will go into effect on July 1 unless local governments choose to submit a six-month exemption extension, prohibiting concealed carry from going into effect for select buildings until Jan. 1.
The extension is intended to allow municipal governments time to determine the cost and benefit of establishing security plans for municipal buildings. Under the new law, if a sufficient security plan is established and approved by the Kansas Attorney General, then a local municipality can still enforce prohibition of weapons in municipal buildings.
Rick Witte, McPherson County administrator, said establishing a security plan for each building would cause a number of logistical problems.
“For the courthouse, the back basement entrance is the only place you could put a guard and a metal detector,” he said. “There would be no place in the front for one. You would also have to restrict access going upstairs or downstairs.”
Commissioner Ron Loomis said the costs alone would pose a problem.
“It would cost an estimated $660,000 in operating expenses annually,” he said, “and that doesn’t include installation expenses. We’d be out $1 million in the first year.”
On July 1, licensed owners will be authorized to carry concealed weapons into county buildings. This includes the McPherson County Extension Office, all 4-H buildings, including Exhibit Hall, McPherson County Noxious Weed building, McPherson County Courthouse, McPherson County Public Works buildings and asphalt plant, Old Mill Museum buildings and other park property, McPherson County Health Department, McPherson County Law Enforcement Center, Infant Toddler Center and Bank of America building, which is owned by the county.
McPherson city commissioners signed an exemption request on Monday. McPherson city municipal buildings will continue to prohibit concealed carry until Jan. 1.
In other business:
- Commissioners appointed Brian Bina as county counselor, effective July 1. Bina has been serving as interim county counselor. John Klenda will resign his role as county counselor on July 1 to assume his new role as a 9th district judicial judge.
Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel.