GFSZA goes into affect on July 1

A reminder that starting July 1, 2017, the library and all its property are covered under the Gun-Free Schools Zone Act of 1994. I am including the Board policy addition to the Customer Conduct Policy, approved March 16, 2017, as it explains the law.  Because the library and all of our property are within 1000 feet of Lowman Hill School, we are gun free except for the exemptions as noted in the resolution.  The Bookmobiles and any other library vehicle are covered because they are vehicles.  The information sent to the Bookmobile staff is also included to address questions about those locations.

I don’t anticipate that you will notice any difference tomorrow from today.  If you have questions, please post them here so I can get them answered for you.

Suggested response for you:

  • If you can’t see anything, there is nothing to worry about.  The key word of concealed carry is “concealed.”  You shouldn’t see it.
  • If you notice someone with some type of weapon and they are behaving, notify internal security.  This isn’t an emergency as long as they are behaving.  Security will educate them on the law.
  • Someone is behaving badly, waving the weapon around, threatening people, or other inappropriate behavior, press the panic button/call our security.  If you can get to a safe place do so as quickly as possible.


Resolution – Customer Conduct Policy


March 16, 2017


Be it resolved that the Board of Trustees, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, approves the Customer Conduct Policy as presented and directs library staff to post the required signage informing the public that the property is in a compliance area of the Gun-Free Schools Zone Act of 1994.


Policy and Background Information:

In July 2013, the Board of Trustees revised the Customer Conduct Policy to comply with K.S.A. 2014 75-7c20(i) and filed the required exemption with the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.  That exemption expires as of July 1, 2017.  The federal law, Gun-Free Schools Zone Act of 1994 (GFSZA) prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary education facility.  All of the library buildings and property are within 1000 feet of Lowman Hill Elementary School, including the property at 1001 SW Garfield, recently received via donation.


The GFSZA allows for the following exceptions:

  • The individual is licensed by Kansas to carry a firearm and that license is validated by state law enforcement authorities if requested;
  • The firearm is unloaded and in a locked container or on a locked firearms rack attached to a motor vehicle;
  • The individual is participating in a program approved by the school in the school zone;
  • The individual is a party to a contract with the school in the school zone permitting the carry of firearms;
  • The individual is a law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity, or
  • The firearm is on private property within the 1,000 feet perimeter.


The GFSZA is a federal law which supersedes the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act.  Once the State exemption expires July 1, 2017, the library must permit concealed carry to those individuals with a Kansas-issued permit.  The library must post signs advising individuals of the GFSZA and stating that the library will report any violations of the law to the appropriate federal authorities for prosecution.

Information for bookmobiles

Here is information per the library’s attorney:


  • Guns are not allowed on the bookmobiles, regardless of parking location, because they are vehicles and it is not legal to have guns on the vehicles.  We are getting signs prepared and will have them for the bookmobiles along with those for the library buildings.
  • KS law allows us to prohibit “weapons” other than guns – so knives/machetes/etc. are not allowed on bookmobiles
    • How to handle that:
    • Your safety and the safety of the other customers is the primary objective.
      • If you can’t see the weapon, the person is not brandishing it, etc. – I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t want you confronting people on a suspicion.  That just puts you in a confrontational situation when everything is functioning normally.
      • They have a large knife/machete strapped to their leg or a backpack, etc. – You have the right to tell them they need to leave the weapon in their car.  You also have the right to enforce this.  However, this is where it gets a bit tricky.  You will just have to make a judgement call based on each specific situation.  If you think the most reasonable course of action is to get them helped and get them off the bus – that probably makes sense, especially if they are your only customer.  Again, I’m reluctant to put you in a confrontational situation if not necessary.  Telling them that next time, they need to leave the knife in their car may be your best bet. If they are leaving but tell you they won’t comply next time, don’t pursue that with them.  Just make a note of their name and let Greg Gaul know.  He and I can handle contacting them to explain the rules.
      • However, if they are causing problems/brandishing it/complaints from other customers– If you don’t feel safe, one of you can call 911 and tell them you have an emergency and tell them this person has a weapon.  If at all possible, evacuate the bus to get yourself and any other customers out of the way. If possible, take the keys to the bus and get out of there.  This prevents them from stealing the bus.  However, the bus and the materials are not important, your safety is! Again, depending on the situation, once you are safe and after you have called 911, call the library number 580-4400 and tell them what is happening.  The Call Center can notify the appropriate people here and we can respond to your location to support you.
    • We want the public to comply with the laws and our rules.  The different part of this one is they have a possible weapon that could be harmful to you or others. You all make excellent judgement calls every day.  Please just make the best call you can in the situation keeping in mind your safety and the safety of the other customers is the important thing.  Books and movies can be replaced. Sometimes just complying with their wishes and getting them gone, calling 911 and the library after the fact is the safest response.  Other times, treating it like an extreme emergency is the best course of action.

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