Sedgwick County board finalizes list of sites affected by concealed-carry law

06/18/2014 3:03 PM

08/06/2014 9:22 AM

People with concealed-carry permits won’t be able to take their guns into the Sedgwick County Courthouse, Juvenile Court, the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch and other county buildings where security is tight, according to a plan approved Wednesday by county commissioners.

But they will be able to take their guns into a large majority of county buildings.

By a 4-1 vote, with commissioner Tim Norton casting the “no” vote, commissioners approved a final list of county buildings that will be exempt from a new state law that requires municipalities to allow concealed-carry guns in buildings that don’t provide adequate security measures.

The county owns 177 buildings, but only 94 are places the public is likely to go. All or parts of 27 buildings owned or leased by the county will be exempt from the new concealed-carry law.

Other facilities that won’t allow guns include the work release facility at 701 E. Harry and the sheriff’s squad room at 830 Stillwell.

Permit holders also won’t be able to carry their guns into buildings that the county owns but leases to tenants that want guns prohibited, such as Intrust Bank Arena.

They will be able to take guns into waiting areas and other parts of eight jail, corrections and law enforcement facilities that are open to the public and aren’t secure. Those buildings – such as adult and juvenile detention and residence facilities – also have areas that are secure, where guns won’t be permitted.

Six Comcare buildings aren’t exempt from the law and will permit guns because Comcare staff members decided that requiring clients to pass through high-profile security screening at the fronts of the buldings “created an atmosphere of distrust that would be detrimental to their mission and the services they provide,” said Steve Claassen, facilities, fleet and parks director for the county.

In addition to Intrust Bank Arena, which the county leases to SMG, county-owned facilities with tenants that prohibit guns include the Lake Afton Observatory, Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, Kansas African American Museum and National Center for Aviation Training.

There are six county-leased facilities where the landlord doesn’t allow guns – two owned by the city of Wichita, two by the Wichita school district and two by private businesses.

They are the Comcare Children’s Services Equity Bank Building at 7701 E. Kellogg, the Women Infants and Children offices at 1740 S. Martinson and 2820 S. Roosevelt, Environmental Resources at 2625 S. Tyler Road, the Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards Unit at 604 N. Main and the Health Department Administration at 1900 E. Ninth St.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau praised the plan for maximizing the number of buildings available to concealed-carry permit holders.

“We have looked at this inside and out. I don’t know what else we can do under the current law, to be honest,” he said.

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