© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City Council Committee Endorses Open Carry Ban

The public safety committee of the Kansas City city council unanimously endorsed Mayor Sly James's proposal to ban the open carry of firearms Wednesday.

Citing a recent move by the town of Lake Ozark, Mo., to ban open carry because of its negative effect on tourism, the mayor said that if a Missouri city makes its gun ordinances exactly mirror state law, there is no reason open carry can not be outlawed by a local community.

James added that especially since the state does not require training or permitting for open carry, it can create a safety hazard in a large city, as well as discourage tourism, intimidate customers in businesses and complicate the work of law enforcement.

He admitted there could be problems for a local open carry ban if the Missouri General Assembly should override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a law that would strip cities of their power to regulate firearms. The mayor said, "if that happens we'll deal with it then."

Responding to comments about loosening gun laws returning the country to a "wild west" environment, James said he would rather live in the old wild west than in today's open carry environment because back then, many towns had sensible gun laws.

“When you rode into town," he said, "you stopped at the sheriff's office and you left your weapon at the sheriff's office and you could not be in that town strapped with a weapon or carrying a weapon. Only the sheriff could. And they enforced that. The shootout at the O.K. Corral was about that exact issue.”

The ordinance the committee endorsed would prohibit open carry except by law enforcement officers or persons with concealed-carry permits. It also brings city regulations into harmony with state regulations by stipulating that the carrying of guns by otherwise qualified persons when intoxicated is only illegal if they use the gun in a “negligent manner.”

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.