Roeland Park won’t file for exemption from gun bill

Roeland Park City Hall is one of the buildings where concealed carry will be allowed.

Starting July 1, concealed carry permit holders can bring their firearms into municipal buildings in Roeland Park.

The city is taking a different direction from some of its neighbors in its response to HB 2052, the gun bill that requires “adequate security measures” to be put in place before a city can ban concealed carry firearms on municipal property.

Prairie Village, Fairway and Mission are on track to file for a six-month exemption while they consider how to address the security measures required by the new state law. By not filing for the exemption allowed in the law, Roeland Park effectively decided this week to allow concealed carry permit holders to have concealed firearms on city property starting next month.

Councilor Becky Fast, who is public safety chair, said it’s a question of the “allocation of city resources.” The city would be looking at multiple expenses – both money and staff time – to construct a plan and to provide the security, which requires a metal detector and an officer to man it at each public entrance.

“If we can’t reach that level, then what’s the point in asking for (the exemption),” Police Chief Rex Taylor said. “What are the chances of us actually doing it?” Taylor laid out the different options for the council, but indicated the city should be serious about a security plan if it filed an exemption.

The buildings Roeland Park would have to secure included city hall, the community center, sports dome, aquatics center and public works building. The city is already facing budget shortfalls in the coming years and Fast said implementing security at the multiple entrances in those buildings would be a challenge.

The city will need to modify its local ordinance to make it comply with the new state law. It also will be pulling down the no guns stickers at the municipal buildings.