The city council of Overland Park, Kansas, is looking to place restrictions on a citizen’s right to openly carry a handgun.
The proposal to add restrictions came after the city leaders reluctantly legalized open carry to accord with pro-gun state preemption laws that say, according to the attorney general, a city “may not completely prohibit the open carry of a loaded firearm on one’s person, or in the immediate control of a person, while on property open to the public.”
To clarify, last month, council members voted to allow the open carry of a loaded handgun provided the safety is engaged and the firearm remains in its holster.
Again, the council really had no choice. Were they to go on prohibiting open carry, the city would be in violation of state law (which permits open carry) and probably get slapped with a costly lawsuit from the attorney general’s office.
Now though, council members see an opening in the law. That is, just because they can’t outright ban open carry, doesn’t mean they can’t regulate it to some extent.
“I’ve had many people approach me saying they don’t support open carry. However, if we are going to have open carry they think it is crazy to just let anyone strap on and go wherever they want to go with a gun on them,” city council member Jim Hix told the Kansas City Star.
So, Hix is proposing to make anyone who wishes to carry openly first obtain a concealed carry permit, which entails that the applicant be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, pass a background check and successfully complete an eight-hour CCW training course.
From Hix’s perspective, it’s the simplest way to protect citizens without violating state law.
“It is a common sense issue that we have an opportunity to level the requirements and do it in a fairly simple and straight-forward manner,” Hix said.
“We can do this without adding any bureaucracy. We can add a layer of security. We can require training.
We can eliminate people with certain criminal convictions from being able to carry,” he added.
While Hix’s idea seems to be somewhat of a compromise, not everyone is on board.
Second Amendment coordinator for the Kansas Libertarian Party, Earl McIntosh, said Overland’s CCW requirement for open carry would create confusion statewide, as different cities would end up having different restrictions.
“Our biggest concern is for uniformity,” McIntosh told the Kansas City Star. “Overland Park needs to let this ride for a little bit and find out there is going to be no problem.”
McIntosh added that a legal challenge is likely if Overland Park goes ahead with the restrictions.
For Hix, though, he sees it as an easy and uncontroversial solution that will likely garner support among the public.
“I think very few people would find this is a very unreasonable suggestion. But you never know.”
Hix will propose the CCW requirement for open carry to the city council public safety committee on Nov. 14. If approved, the full council will then vote on the measure.
What are your thoughts? Is Hix’s proposal a reasonable compromise? Should there be requirements, vis a vis concealed carry, for open carry?
(Photo Credit: KC Star)