Topeka Shawnee Co. Library Targets Concealed Carry Options

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library board is weighing its options in whether to allow concealed weapons in the building.

The board already has a six-month exemption to a new state law allowing licensed people to bring concealed weapons into public buildings that don't have what the law deems to be adequate security. The board now must decide whether it wants to make the necessary upgrades to meet the requirements of adequate security or change policy and allow licensed concealed weapons on its property.

At a budget work session Monday, the board looked at three cost projections for upgrades, should they continue to prohibit weapons. All involve a one-time expense of $96,330 for renovations and equipment associated with installing metal detectors. They also carry additional annual expenses for adding combinations of civilian staff and armed security, from a low of $86,179 to a high of $150,160.

The library currently has three full-time unarmed security staff, supplemented by off-duty Topeka Police officers, who are armed. Library officials say additional security personnel would be required to meet requirements of the law.

The board believes it could cover the one-time expense from available cash balances, then look for revenue for the ongoing expenses.

Beyond the financial considerations, library director Gina Milsap says the board also is looking at the public safety aspect the issue, including any potential liabilities, as well as the experience for library users.

The library board will continue to study the issue. A decision on either making the upgrades or allowing concealed weapons is expected by October.