Cities to grapple with guns in city hall issue after Brownback signs gun bill

A comprehensive piece of gun legislation was signed by the governor this week and now will have city governments figuring out what they will do about guns in city hall.

All of the northeast Johnson County legislators voted against the conference committee report when it came to the Kansas House and Senate on the last day of the regular session. The bill applies to concealed carry permit holders, not the open carry that is being contested in a Prairie Village court case.

While school districts are exempt, the bill allows guns to be carried into municipal and state buildings unless “adequate security measures” are in place. Those measures will require metal detectors and security personnel at the entrances to the buildings. Rep. Melissa Rooker said this not only applies to city halls, but also KU and Johnson County Community College.

The governments get a bit of a reprieve. They can file for a four-year exemption while getting their security plans in place. “Even with the four-year window, I view this law as an unfunded mandate that will strain our institutions of higher learning which are already grappling with budget cuts,” Rooker said.

School districts can set their own policies about whether staff members with concealed-carry permits will be allowed to carry them inside the school. Otherwise, they can still prohibit weapons in schools.

Carrying a concealed weapon into a building that prohibits them is not a crime under the bill, it just means the person can be removed.

Some cities in the area have already started assessing how they can reduce entrances and secure them in an attempt to keep the firearm prohibition after the exemption period expires. In most cases, cities would need to staff the secure entrance all day and for all evening meetings when the building is open.

Sen. Kay Wolf and Reps. Rooker, Barbara Bollier, Stephanie Clayton and Emily Perry all voted against the bill.