Joco Opinion

December 10, 2013

Banning guns in public facilities is appropriate

Leawood and Prairie Village recently took appropriate steps to keep guns out of public facilities.

Leawood and Prairie Village recently took appropriate steps to keep guns out of public facilities.

Both Johnson County cities voted to prohibit people from toting firearms into buildings such as their city halls. Unfortunately, the cities eventually may have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep these bans in effect.

That’s because conservative forces in the Kansas Legislature passed a law that says cities must allow people to carry guns into public facilities unless the governments come up with safety plans for the structures.

Elected officials in both Leawood and Prairie Village properly have agreed to develop those proposals. However, the state law essentially would impose new financial burdens on taxpayers in cities that dare to stand up to gun enthusiasts. That’s because the plans likely could include having to hire more security staff and to install metal detectors.

The cities have until 2018 to put the plans into place.

In Leawood, Mayor Peggy Dunn said the council recently had “agreed it wasn’t good to have guns in our city facilities.” Prairie Village officials, who have become leaders in battling the proliferation of weapons in local public areas, took a similar stance.

There’s a far better solution to this mess, one that respects the rights of local elected officials to represent their residents: The Legislature should rescind the present law. While that’s not likely to happen in 2014, given the configuration of the Republican-controlled body, it could occur sometime in the future.

Getting rid of this law would irritate the pro-gun crowds. They want their “rights” to carry weapons wherever and whenever they want.

Still, the state shouldn’t be forcing cities to allow armed people to roam about freely in public buildings, all of which creates potentially dangerous situations.

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