When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners discussed requesting a temporary exemption from a state law that would allow people to carry concealed firearms in city buildings unless additional security.
When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners discussed requesting a temporary exemption from a state law that would allow people to carry concealed firearms in city buildings unless additional security measures are put in place.
City Manager Scott Miller and Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens discussed with commissioners the options available to the city under what's known as House Bill 2052. The law, which was passed earlier this year, is set to take effect July 1.
Miller said if city officials do nothing they would have to remove signs posted at city buildings prohibiting concealed firearms. And people who have licenses to carry concealed firearms would be able to do so in the buildings.
City officials can continue to prohibit people from carrying concealed firearms into municipal buildings if security measures such as metal detectors and security personnel are put in place at public entrances.
"That is very expensive," Miller said.
He said he doesn't know of any city or county government that will take that option.
City officials also have the option of sending a letter to the Kansas attorney general by July 1 in order to assess the city's buildings. By sending the letter, the city would be granted an exemption from the law's new requirements until Jan. 1.
After taking this action, the city also could seek a four-year exemption. But such an exemption would require the city to develop a security plan.
The city manager said sending a letter to the attorney general buys time.
"I think that's the best way to go," Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said.
No action was taken Tuesday during what was a study session, but other members of the City Commission seemed to favor seeking an exemption. And there was a consensus for moving forward with the issue.
Miller said the matter will be brought to the commissioners for formal action next week.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said there probably will be a few court cases within the next four years challenging the law.
Preisinger asked about a provision in the law that doesn't allow cities to prohibit employees from carrying concealed firearms while at work unless such restrictions are made through personnel policies.
"I think we need to discuss that," Miller said.
City Attorney Tom Dawson said the policy change doesn't have to be made by July 1. He noted that the new law has two conflicting sections regarding whether cities can prohibit employees from carrying firearms.
"These are totally inconsistent sections," he said.