The City Council and Lancaster County Board of Commissioners will have to decide whether to allow retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed guns in public buildings, where they currently are banned.

County Treasurer Andy Stebbing, a retired sheriff's deputy, asked the city's Public Building Commission to allow him to carry a weapon while at work in light of recent mass shootings and for general security.

"The issue is certainly more in the forefront, more than ever," said Sheriff Terry Wagner, who supported the idea presented at the commission's meeting Monday.

The commission oversees policy that affects public property. 

A 2004 federal law, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, allows both retired and current law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms in the United States without a permit.

Requirements include that the retired officer must have 15 years of experience, attend yearly training and carry identification and proof of training.

However, they must abide by state and local laws that prohibit guns in certain places. City ordinance prohibits weapons in public buildings unless they are carried by on-duty officers.

Local law takes precedence over the federal law and would have to be changed, City Attorney Chris Connolly said.

Stebbing said it would be beneficial to have people with several decades of experience using firearms if something were to happen at the building.

Two other retired, longtime law enforcement employees, Don Arp and Bill Jarrett, also work in the Treasurer's Office.

The board was reluctant to make any recommendations because it felt more legal research was needed.

Wagner, who supported the idea, pointed out that there are no metal detectors or security guards at the County-City Building. There are at the nearby Hall of Justice.

"Right now, someone could hit a panic button in their office and it could take three minutes for it to get to dispatch and have someone over there," he said. "Although we're just steps away, three minutes could feel like an eternity.

"I would like to know that people who are trained and trusted are right there."

The City Council and Lancaster County Board will discuss the issue and it will likely be discussed again at next month's Public Building Commission meeting.

Reach Jordan Pascale at 402-473-7120, jpascale@journalstar.com or follow him @LJSPascale.

Arp is former LPD

Don Arp is a retired Lincoln Police officer, not a retired Lancaster County Sheriff deputy. His former job was incorrectly listed in this original story.