Thursday, November 27, 2014

New ‘no gun’ signs going up across Ottawa

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/26/2013

Franklin County workers were busy this week putting up new “no guns” signs on their buildings to be in compliance with state concealed carry regulations that will go into effect Monday.

State and municipal buildings that legally qualify and opted to exclude concealed firearms under terms of a new state law will have to post the different signage by Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Wednesday in a press release.

Franklin County workers were busy this week putting up new “no guns” signs on their buildings to be in compliance with state concealed carry regulations that will go into effect Monday.

State and municipal buildings that legally qualify and opted to exclude concealed firearms under terms of a new state law will have to post the different signage by Monday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Wednesday in a press release.

Lisa Johnson, Franklin County administrator and county counselor, said the announcement by the state attorney general’s office did not come as a surprise.

“It was not unexpected, and I believe the new legislation referenced it,” Johnson said. “[New signage] is consistent with past practices, and we were prepared for it.”

County workers were taking down the old signs banning guns in county-owned municipal buildings and replacing them with the new version of the “no guns” signs Wednesday and today, Johnson said.

“The signs based on the new legislation will be in place by Monday,” she said.

The Legislature in April approved House Bill 2052, which includes a requirement to allow conceal carry permit holders to bring concealed handguns into state and municipal buildings as of Monday — July 1 — unless the building is exempt. One way to be exempt is for the building to have adequate security measures in place, the legislation stated.

The Legislature allowed for several exemptions to the new concealed carry law, including allowing the governing body or administrator of a state or municipal building to seek six-month and four-year exemptions by sending notice to the attorney general’s office, according to the attorney general’s news release. Many local governments have already submitted notices to the attorney general’s office of these exemptions, the release said.

Richard Nienstedt, Ottawa city manager, and Bob Bezek, Ottawa city attorney, were unavailable for comment Wednesday. The City of Ottawa joined the county in filing a letter with the state attorney general’s office requesting the six-month exemption. The City of Pomona planned to do the same, Marie Seneca, Pomona mayor, said previously. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The state attorney general’s office said it was requiring the new signs “to make clear to concealed carry license holders that a state or municipal building has been exempted,” the news release said.

The modified “no guns” sign is to be posted at the entrance to exempted buildings, the release said.

“The modified signs will state that the posted building is a state or municipal building and that it is exempt from the new statutory requirement that concealed carry be allowed,” the attorney general’s office said.

The regulations for the new signs, along with a copy of the sign, can be downloaded from the state attorney general’s website: www.ag.ks.gov

The new signs include the familiar black gun with a red diagonal slash through it, on a white background. But the new signs also contain the following language: “State or Municipal Building 2013 HB 2052 EXEMPT: On and after July 1, 2013, all persons licensed to carry concealed handguns under the personal and family protection act are prohibited from carrying concealed handguns within this state or municipal building because either a temporary exemption or adequate security measures are in place pursuant to 2013 Senate Sub. for House Bill 2052.”

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