Joco Opinion

Repeal gun law that’s costly for county residents

Thanks to the pro-gun Kansas Legislature, local government leaders in Johnson County are forced to waste time and money deciding whether they want weapons in their public buildings.

A new law that took effect this month foists new expenses on cities and counties across Kansas, courtesy of the Republican-controlled Legislature that purports to care so much about reducing the cost of government.

Local officials have two basic options:

• As Roeland Park has done, they can allow people who are licensed to carry concealed weapons to bring them into public buildings.

• They eventually can buy equipment such as metal detectors — or take other security steps — that are aimed at keeping guns out of their buildings.

Fortunately, state lawmakers at least didn’t bow completely to the National Rifle Association and rush this law into effect immediately. Cities can request at least a six-month extension to decide how to deal with the issue, an exemption that could last up to four years if the cities say that much time is needed to comply.

Prairie Village council member David Belz pinpointed the frustrations of sensible politicians, saying, “We could develop these plans, tell the state this is what we’re planning on doing, and then hope that four years from now the goofballs who passed this thing are out of office and we get a better law.”

A “better” law would be a repealed law in the 2014 Kansas session. That would undo the financial damage Kansas lawmakers are seeking to impose on taxpayers. And it would allow cities and counties the proper role of deciding whether to let guns into their buildings.