By TIM HORAN
Guns in Dickinson County’s public buildings have been delayed at least six-months.
The Dickinson County Committee opted for a 6-month exemption from Kansas’ new conceal and carry law that allows guns in most public buildings.
The law requires city, county and state buildings to eventually remove bans on concealed handguns unless metal detectors or security guards are put in place to bolster the safety of inhabitants.
“Under the new House bill 2052, and the wisdom of our legislature, we have the option of changing our security immediately, which we are obviously not able to do or we can apply for a 6-month waiver,” said County Manager Brad Homman. “Then in the future, we will have to figure out what we are going to do.”
Homman, in explaining the bill, said that people who have taken the time and effort to get a conceal and carry permit should have the right to protect themselves.
“Without security in place, we can’t waive their right to protect themselves,” he said. “We either have to protect them while they are here, or allow them to protect themselves.”
Commissioner Craig Chamberlin questioned the new law.
“Do you think we could talk our legislature into going back and reviewing this issue?” he said.
“From what I have read, we can reapply for another six months,” Chairman LaVerne Myers said.
“It is my understanding that can get an extension for that if we can show that we are working on a plan for four years,” Homman said. “I am really hoping that the legislature can see some changes are needed.”
“I can see some of the buildings have security, but every one of them?” Chamberlin said.
“The bottom line is, we will have to allow conceal and carry guns in the courthouse. I don’t know if we can reasonably secure this: purchase metal detectors and staff?” Homman said.
Abilene Representative John Barker, a retired judge, offered an amendment to that bill to ban guns from the court room.
Rolling Stone magazine recently reported on that:
“Up next: a shockingly reasonable amendment from retired judge John Barker, another freshman Republican, who stands up to argue that it might be a good idea to ban concealed weapons from court proceedings – say, emotional child custody cases, in which allowing aggrieved parties to carry weapons could be a recipe for disaster,” wrote Mark Binelli. “Taking care to stress his bona fides as a ‘lover of the second amendment’ and an 18-year hunter's safety instructor, Barker goes on, ‘I've been a judge for 25 years and am proud to say I never carried a gun on the bench. Didn't think I wanted to do that.’
Thompson said that a city he represents excluded city employees from carrying guns by amending the personnel manual. At issue is the liability of the city or county should the gun be accidentally discharged, causing injury.
“I have a feeling we’ll be looking at a personnel manual change coming up at the first of the month,” he said.
Thompson questioned then if employees like the highway crew were working, not allowed to carry a gun, and then something happens.
“What is the obligation the other way?” he asked.
The exemption specifically mentioned:
• Sterl Hall;
• county attorney’s office;
• Annex building;
• highway shop;
• health department and EMS station;
• EMS station 2 in Herington;
• environmental services.