Rights Disarm Metal Detectors
Dinan, Stephen, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Stephen Dinan
After rushing to post metal detectors at entrances to state capitols after September 11, some states are now realizing that there's nothing their security guards can do about many of the people who are carrying firearms into the buildings.
Right-to-carry and concealed-carry laws in many states specifically grant residents the right to have a gun in public spaces - and in many cases those laws apply to states' capitols.
That's exactly what's happened in Kentucky, where the state constitution specifically grants residents the right to carry an unconcealed firearm in public and where state law allows permit holders to carry one concealed. Visitors who carry weapons into the Capitol are simply waived through after they are checked out.
Now one state lawmaker thinks the detectors should be done away with.
"It is absolutely a waste of money as far as I'm concerned," says state Rep. Robert R. Damron, a Democrat from Nicholasville, Ky., just south of Lexington. "It's an overreaction. The whole process - 90 percent of all the security measures we're going through in the country are overreactions. And, to me, then we've let the terrorists win."
In the rush to evaluate and secure their capitols following September 11, states are trying to balance protection with public access.
"The states are kind of moving slowly on this because they're concerned about making sure the public always has access to their building,"said Kae M. …