Lawrence city leaders want more time to enforce Kansas gun law - KCTV5

Lawrence city leaders want more time to enforce controversial Kansas gun law

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A controversial Kansas gun law is about to go into effect, but city leaders in one city want an exemption, saying they need more time to be able to enforce the law.

The new law goes into effect July 1, but some city leaders in Lawrence want to ask the attorney general for an exemption to find funding for new security requirements. They said the required changes are expensive and will require planning.

Under a new Kansas law, signs that prohibit guns are no longer enough. The law allows those with concealed carry permits to carry firearms into all public buildings, unless the buildings have adequate security at entrances to ensure no weapons are allowed inside.

"The law defines what adequate security measures are. That includes equipment such as metal detectors and wands and personnel to man those stations," said Lawrence City Attorney Toni Wheeler.

Right now the city of Lawrence doesn't allow anyone to bring a gun inside certain public buildings. If leaders want that to remain, they'll need to install and staff a metal detector at each building's entrance. That means the city would need to make the changes inside City Hall, the Lawrence Municipal Court and the public access area of the police department.

"Our preliminary review shows that the equipment will probably cost $5,000 for one metal detector. To have a police officer there to run the system, the annual beginning salary for a police officer is about $40,000," Wheeler said.

She recommended the city ask for an exemption until Jan. 1.

"The governor just signed the law a few weeks ago, so we haven't really identified pools of money yet to dedicate to this need. It is definitely a concern for the city manager who is getting ready to put together his budget recommendation for next year," Wheeler said.

On Tuesday, the city commission authorized the mayor to sign a letter to the Kansas Attorney General and the Lawrence Police Department, exempting all city buildings from the provisions of the bill regarding firearms until Jan. 1, 2014. They will also have to create a security plan for each exempt building.

The motion was carried unanimously.

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