Crime

Lexington library, health department remove signs banning firearms

Signs on the Lexington Central Library doors prohibiting concealed deadly weapons were being taken down. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Signs on the Lexington Central Library doors prohibiting concealed deadly weapons were being taken down. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader

Officials with the Lexington-Fayette Health Department, public library and Lextran say signs will come down or changes will be made to their policies on firearms in order to comply with state law.

All three Lexington agencies sought legal opinions last month after a revision to state law went into effect, barring local governments and government agencies from regulating guns. The revision — presented by State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, as House Bill 500 in the 2012 General Assembly — beefed up a Kentucky law prohibiting a city, county or merged government from regulating firearms. It extended the reach of the old law to include more types of local governments and local government agencies.

Newly added types of government that may not regulate firearms include charter, county and consolidated local governments; special districts; and a local or regional public or quasi-public agency, board, commission, department or public corporation.

Agencies have been reviewing their policies in light of the new law.

Lexington Public Library board members made a decision to change policy Wednesday, after their attorney informed them that the library can no longer prohibit the open or concealed carrying of weapons by people 18 years and older, said library director Ann Hammond.

The public library previously had a sign on the doors of its buildings banning concealed weapons. Hammond said those signs were being removed.

Even though they cannot ban weapons, library officials are "requesting that the public not bring deadly weapons into the library," unless they are doing it for professional purposes as in the case of law enforcement officers, said Hammond.

Similar opinions were returned to officials with the health department and LexTran.

The Lexington-Fayette Health Department will be removing from its front door a sign posted that says firearms and other weapons are prohibited, spokesman Kevin Hall said Friday. And officials at Lextran, the city's transit authority, said changes would be made to its ban on firearms on its property and on its buses; details were being finalized on Friday, Assistant General Manager Jared Forte said Friday.

At Lexington's health department, "we will be taking the signs down, as advised by counsel," said Hall, the spokesman. "We do not have an existing policy regarding firearms, so there isn't anything to change at this time. We will follow the law and permit firearms."

Forte of Lextran said that as of Friday "we feel based on the information we have received so far that we are required to (change the policy), we just don't know to what extent we need to change it."

"We are still checking with our attorney ... to give us clarification on the law to tell us what we actually can and cannot do," he said.

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