Thursday, October 02, 2014

County officals fire off gun concerns

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/3/2014

The state’s newly uniform firearm laws aren’t really much of a change, Jeff Richards told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners Wednesday. The law simply is being clarified to reduce confusion.

“This particular law is not new,” Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said. “It’s just being reiterated because there were some cities that were restricting open carry, and the ruling came down that [cities] don’t have the authority to limit that.”

The state’s newly uniform firearm laws aren’t really much of a change, Jeff Richards told the Franklin County Board of Commissioners Wednesday. The law simply is being clarified to reduce confusion.

“This particular law is not new,” Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said. “It’s just being reiterated because there were some cities that were restricting open carry, and the ruling came down that [cities] don’t have the authority to limit that.”

Steve Harris, commission chair, discussed with Richards and Don Moler, interim county administrator, the actions needed to satisfy the new law, which went into effect Tuesday. The legislation consolidated all firearm laws throughout Kansas to state-level-only enforcement, and stripped counties and municipalities of their own restrictions and firearm buy-back programs.

The change was not expected to cause dramatic changes for Franklin County, Lisa Johnson, then-county administrator, said in April. Harris, however, said Wednesday that new signage about the firearm restrictions at municipal buildings have caused confusion.

If county or city officials want to restrict residents carrying firearms in such buildings, metal detectors and other safety precautions must be installed. Posted signs must indicate the safety steps the county or city is taking if firearms are restricted, Harris said. Taking such precautions at all public buildings would have proven costly to local government agencies, officials have said.

“It was not budgetarily possible, it just wasn’t,” Harris said.

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