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Editorial: No guns in court

Municipal court should be moved to another site with better security as weapons law takes effect.

At a minimum, the city of Lawrence should invest in the security necessary to prohibit concealed weapons from being brought into City Hall and municipal court.

The city’s exemption to the state of Kansas concealed carry law ends Jan. 1. That means the city will either have to allow concealed weapons in its more than 20 public buildings or implement security measures to prevent individuals from carrying weapons into the building. Security measures mean metal detectors and security personnel at all entrances.

Estimates are that equipping four of the city’s most frequently visited buildings — City Hall, municipal court, the library and the police department’s Investigations and Training Center — would cost between $530,000 and $895,000, depending on personnel salaries.

The city has no plans to add the required security to any of its buildings in time for Jan. 1, though there are plans for the municipal court for the future.

The city’s 2018 capital improvement plan includes $114,600 for walk-through metal detectors, metal detector wands and baggage-screening machines. There is also $49,000 allocated in next year’s operational budget for an additional part-time security guard position at municipal court.

Mayor Leslie Soden is open to discussion about adding security to city buildings, if it can be worked into the city’s budget.

It seems most prudent to maintain the ban on concealed carry in municipal court and City Hall. There are a couple of ways to do this as efficiently as possible:

• Move municipal court, which is in leased space on New Hampshire Street near the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, into space at City Hall. It would seem municipal court and Lawrence City Commission meetings could use the same room.

• Work with Douglas County to move municipal court into the county-owned building that houses the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, which is already home to the district attorney’s office, District Courts and the Lawrence Police Department. Metal detectors and security guards are already in place at the center.

Municipal court is the most obvious facility where the city should continue to ban guns. Moving the court to either City Hall or the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center requires that metal detectors and guards be added at just one city building. It is the most affordable strategy for addressing the new concealed carry law.

Comments

Bob Summers

No congenital Liberals with guns in court.

Why are the Liberals ones allowed to purchase firearms in the first place?

Why is firearm safety not taught in their student inculcation centers?

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Cary Ediger

....

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Daniel Kennamore

Is one of the symptoms of this genetic condition parroting the same thing over and over?

Because if so I've got some bad news for you.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Bob Summers

Congenital Liberals have a track record of violence and sexual abuse to name a few illicit behaviors.

Look no further than today's news at the number of Liberals sexual abuse claims.

These are troubled men.

Why should they be allowed to be armed?

Why do you defend their behavior?

3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Cary Ediger

Bob... hate quoting the dotard but... Fake News !

3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Bob Smith

If only the city of Lawrence had had advance notice of this change so they could have done some planning......

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Jennifer Harrison

Bob, If I remember correctly, the city did plan for this when the police department asked for new police building. There was talk at that time of building a judicial complex which would house a new municipal court building along with the police department but the voters did not support the police department and a new building.

Now that the city is moving forward on a new police department, it should plan on remodeling efforts to move the current municipal court into the judicial building once the police department moves out.

3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Charles L. Bloss, Jr.

There should be no guns in court, except peace officers and the judge. Some judges let no one in their courtroom armed. I worked with a number of judges that were armed in their courtrooms, my favorite was an ex-marine who regularly shot at the range with the sheriff deputies.He always shot excellent scores.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Brock Masters

Ah, this is one of my pet peeves - the notion that some lives are more important than others so they get to carry a firearm and others, based only on stature, do not.

See case for LEO to have a gun in courtroom, but can’t support a judge being able to if other civilians are not.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Armen Kurdian

City Hall and Court buildings should have internal security and police presence, they are important enough to warrant that protection. The only ones who should be allowed concealed carry should be LEOs, whether local, state, or federal w/in those buildings. Do that, and there's no reason for anyone else to walk in w/a gun.

As for other buildings w/o security, that's a different question, open for debate.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Brock Masters

Agreed.

3 weeks, 3 days ago

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