Reasoning that more guns mean greater safety, Kansas legislators last year required cities and counties to make public buildings accessible to people legally carrying concealed weapons, says the New York Times. For places wary of such open access to city halls, libraries, museums and courthouses, the Legislature provided an exemption: Guns can be banned as long as local governments pay for protections like metal detectors and security guards, ensuring the safety of those they have disarmed.
In Wichita, the state's most populous city, and in some other towns, the cost of opting out before the Jan. 1 deadline was just too high. Wichita police estimated that it would cost $14 million a year to restrict guns in all 107 city-owned buildings. Weeks before the deadline, officials across Kansas were examining foot traffic and prioritizing the facilities they wanted to keep gun-free, said Melissa Wangemann of the Kansas Association of Counties. “For some of your smaller, more rural areas, it's just not economically feasible,” she said. Some considered closing entrances to limit the security expense.