Commission narrows county buildings seeking concealed carry exemption

By Maura Wery

The Riley County Commission has decided to reduce the number of buildings it will exempt from the state’s new concealed gun law from 44 to 10.

Monday’s decision followed discussions between county counselor Clancy Holeman and department heads concerning which buildings were most in need of being exempted. The law requires that people be allowed to carry concealed guns into public buildings unless officials seek exemptions and provide a detailed plan for securing those buildings.

The 10 buildings for which exemptions will be obtained are the Riley County Office Building, Courthouse, Carnegie Building, the Plaza East Building, Riley County Police Department, Wharton Manor, Health Department, Pawnee Mental Health Services, Pottorf Hall, and the public works administration building.

County officials indicated that the 10 were chosen because they were the buildings with the highest levels of public interaction. Officials indicated that buildings removed Monday from the exempt list, among them Riley County Fire Department buildings and Emergency Medical Services headquarters, didn’t deal as directly with the public, therefore posed less of a concern.

Holeman noted that both Riley County Fire and EMS have policies within their department that restrict conceal carry weapons among employees.

The department heads indicated they did not want to decide whether county employees could carry concealed weapons while on the clock but outside of the exempted buildings. Commissioners and Holeman said they would amend the personnel policy to prohibit concealed carry by employees on the job who have not been specifically trained and authorized to carry weapons. That exception commonly applies to law enforcement personnel.

The revised list was to be sent to the Attorney General Monday afternoon.

Public Building Commission

Commissioners also announced Monday that they will be forming a public building commission. They set a special meeting for 11 a.m. July 15 to discuss the implications of that action.

Although commissioners intend to form the building commission, Holeman said they hope both those in favor of and opposed to the idea will attend the July 15 meeting. He also raised the idea that the building commission could be comprised completely by the county commissioners. Holeman said forming a building commission doesn’t bind the county to funding any building, and would not have any financial impact on county taxpayers.

It is the first time such a board has been created, although the idea has been discussed for years.

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