Concealed carry law plays into Geary County budget decisions

The state’s concealed carry law is throwing some county commissioners a curve ball as they decide next year’s budget.

“Concealed carry legislation has got all the county and city governments concerned about how we’re going to provide a safe environment for public offices,” says Chair of Geary County Commission, Ben Bennett.

The law requires public buildings to either allow concealed carry holders bring in their guns or install specific security measures.

Geary County is one of many Kansas municipalities to apply for a 6-month exemption from the law, but once January 1 rolls around, that exemption is up.

“I’ve heard a lot of them are asking for that 6-year exemption period so that they can have some time to develop a budget and develop a financial source for those things,” Bennett says.

Since no decision has been made on what will happen after January 1, Bennett says they set aside $75,000 just in case.

“But it could be much more than that,” Bennett adds, “We’re looking at having to hire special guards and buy metal detector machinery and have that set up and cut the number of entrances down to those buildings.”

Four buildings total could be affected, including the county offices, which houses the treasurer’s office, and the Geary County Courthouse.

In the next four months county officials have to decide if they’ll apply for another exemption or begin installing security measures.

Part of the budget decisions also included a 2-mill levy increase for Geary County homeowners. That’s about $22 for the year on a $100,000 home.

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