Mayor Sly James (D) has pushed his prohibition against the open carry of firearms in Kansas City to a unanimous vote by the City Council. (Photo credit: Allistar Tutton/KC Star)
In a unanimous 9-0 vote, the K.C. Council voted Thursday to ban the practice of open carry in the Show Me State’s largest city.
The ordinance, set to come into effect in ten days, would amend the city’s codes on weapons to prohibit the open carrying of a firearm. Mayor Sly James (D), who has been outspoken in his crusade to limit guns on Kansas City’s streets, proposed the measure on July 17.
“We’re saying this does not make sense in the middle of Kansas City, Mo.,” James told the Council earlier this month. “If you want to do this out in a rural area, that’s cool. How much would you shop at the Plaza if you walk down there and every third person had a rifle on their back?”
The ordinance will prohibit the open carry of any firearms in the city with exceptions for active and retired law enforcement, the military, process servers and coroners, as well as ROTC students and those participating in school-sponsored shooting sports. According to the fact sheet filed by James with the proposed ordinance, “aggressive open carry” can cause public disturbances and prevent “gun education learned on the streets” from “those who may choose to stretch the limits of responsible gun ownership.”
However, a bill that passed the state legislature by wide margins earlier this year could disrupt the city’s plan. Senate Bill 656, a measure best known for its provision to allow armed teachers in Missouri school districts, also contains language that would allow open carry throughout the state by those with gun permits. It further preempts local bans such as Kansas City’s new code. Although vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, SB656 is facing a very likely override vote in September.
Gun rights groups in the state are not enamored with KC’s latest legislation.
Kevin Jamison, president of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, told the Kansas City Star that the council’s time and effort could better be served in issues that are more important. Likewise, he questions the increase in police resources that will come from enforcing the new ban, citing the fact that the state has had few documented problems with open carriers.