On April 17, Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that will allow those with concealed carry permits to carry weapons on government property that does not have adequate security in place to make sure no guns make it onto the premises.
During their Tuesday meeting, the Butler County Commissioners discussed how they would deal with the legislation that will take effect on July 1.
“We cannot prohibit citizens from bringing concealed carry on the property unless there is proper security in place,” said County Administrator Will Johnson.
Buildings with proper security where the public cannot bring guns are the detention center and the judicial center.
The commissioners also discussed whether or not to allow county employees with concealed carry permits to have firearms with them while at work.
Current county policy states employees with concealed carry permits may have guns in their vehicles on county property.
Johnson expressed some hesitation about allowing county employees to carry guns on the job.
“I don’t know if I’m a fan of employees carrying on the job,” he said. “I just think it’s a safety issue.”
Commissioners Peggy Palmer and Ed Myers expressed their support for allowing employees with permits to carry guns on the job.
“I think the intent of the law was to not have any more restrictions on concealed carry,” said Palmer. “I think you just have to allow people to do that.”
“My concern is the field workers and safety around equipment,” replied Johnson.
“As far as the law goes, I have no issues with the law,” added Public Works Director Darryl Lutz. “Maybe from a management perspective I would be concerned about construction workers. My preference would be to not have them carrying while they’re at work.”
Sheriff Kelly Herzet said he could see both pros and cons to allowing employees with permits to carry guns while at work, but feels employees who go through the class should be allowed to carry.
Emergency Communications Director Chris Davis also said he has no problem with concealed carry, although he said he would like to have a list of which of his employees have permits.
During the discussion, Commissioner Mike Wheeler expressed skepticism about the idea.
“I’m opposed to that,” he said of allowing county employees to carry on the job. “I think that’s a poor idea.”
The commissioners will vote on the issue next week.
In other business, the commissioners:
Page 2 of 2 - • approved a resolution authorizing the final call of outstanding Fire District 3 bonds.
• approved a resolution to adopt tax compliance procedures for Fire District 3.
• received a presentation from Macy Gaines of the Butler Homeless Initiative. Last week, Gaines asked the county to serve as the fiscal agent for a grant BHI is seeking. A few commissioners expressed hesitation and asked for more information about BHI before agreeing to become the fiscal agent should BHI receive the grant. During her presentation, Gaines talked about BHI’s mission to help the less fortunate, the group’s future plans and homelessness in Butler County. She also told the commissioners after meeting with them last week, BHI had approached the City of El Dorado about serving as the fiscal agent, something the city agreed to do.
• approved acceptance of easement of right-of-way for a portion of SW Diamond Road south of US Highway 54.
• authorized the Department of Public Works to go out for bids for highway striping paint and reflective glass beads for the Highway Department.
• approved a proposal for asphalt surface maintenance on SW Butler Road between Rose Hill and Andover.
• adopted the 2013-2017 Capital Improvement Plan.
• deferred scheduled work sessions to discuss tobacco utilization at county facilities and appointment of a county appraiser until next week.
• approved a letter of support for Cowley County’s application for a grant to construct a new 911 center. Cowley County would like for its system to be able to communicate with Butler County’s 911 system.