Wichita area officials will consider this week whether to will seek a six-month exemption from a new state law that allows permit holders to carry concealed handguns in public buildings.
Both the city council and the Sedgwick County commissioners will take up the issue this week, The Wichita Eagle reported. The new state law goes into effect July 1, allowing permit holders to take concealed handguns into public buildings, including courthouses, police stations and libraries.
City and county governments are allowed to prohibit concealed carry in certain buildings as long as "adequate security measures" are in place. City and county governments that want to exempt certain buildings from the new law until 2017 must submit their security plans to the state.
The purpose of the six-month exemption is to give those governments time to determine how they will adequately secure any buildings in which permit holders are not allowed to carry a handgun.
Wichita officials' early estimate is that it would cost is about $1 million for equipment plus $14.5 million a year for security personnel. The estimated cost is for all city facilities where concealed weapons are now prohibited. The county hasn't made any similar cost estimates.
On Tuesday, city council members will vote on whether to seek the six-month exemption. County commissioners on Wednesday will consider whether to seek a similar delay for county-owned buildings. Other local governments, including Shawnee and Reno counties, have already asked for the six-month exemption.
Dale Goter, government relations manager for Wichita, said the city could also seek a four-year exemption from the law once the six-month delay is up in Jan. 1, 2014. Sedgwick County spokeswoman Kristi Zukovich says commissioners don't know if they'll seek the longer exemption.