Johnson County libraries will allow concealed carry firearms in buildings after Jan.1

The gun prohibition signs will be coming down at libraries in the Johnson County system before the end of the year.
The gun prohibition signs will be coming down at libraries in the Johnson County system before the end of the year.

The “no gun” signs will be coming down from Johnson County library buildings, including Corinth and Cedar Roe, on January 1.

The libraries cannot fund the “adequate security measures” required by legislation passed earlier this year in the Kansas Legislature. That means people with concealed carry permits will be allowed to bring their weapons into library buildings.

The library board approved the policy change Thursday afternoon on advice from its attorney, Fred Logan. The libraries originally had taken the six-month exemption from the law’s requirements to allow concealed carry in public buildings, but that expires Jan. 1. To apply for another four-year exemption would require that the library system be in the process of developing security measures to put in place.

Logan told the board that the county commissioners will fund the security measures at a limited number of buildings such as the courthouse and mental health center. Libraries will not get funded for the security, which requires metal detectors and security personnel at the entrances. Logan said cost estimates run from $300,000 to $800,000 to secure a building.

“There is no reason to bring a gun into a library,” board member Carol Snyder said earlier in the meeting, “especially when so many children are there.” The revised policy still bans weapons, except those carried by law enforcement or concealed carry permit holders.

Since the library is in no position to afford security at all of its buildings across the county, applying for another extension would not have been credible, Logan said. The library now has security guards at only the central library and the Antioch branch.

The libraries have had a ban on weapons for at least the last few decades. That ends Jan. 1.