A conversation coming soon to an Overland Park Starbucks near you:
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Heres your pumpkin spice latte, sir. And might I add, thats a fine-looking loaded firearm.
Overland Park is the latest city falling to a national push for guns carried openly in public places. The folks behind this fervently believe that more people with guns strapped to their sides makes a safer society.
Statistics beg to differ. More guns correlate to increases in non-defensive gun violence, accidental shootings and suicides. Anecdotes of the sure-shot bystander saving the day during a robbery dont negate the data.
But gun lobbies are powerful. Starbucks knows. So Starbucks will not post no gun signage in states that allow open carry.
That includes Kansas now, along with more jurisdictions in more than 40 other states.
The political, policy and legal debates around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores, is the companys stand.
Most Americans support the Second Amendment.
The concern is that open carry laws often dont include common-sense controls. People deserve assurances that criminals, or those with anger issues or a jealous intent to keep their ex-wife or girlfriend from dating anyone else, dont have access to guns. Much less have the right to strut around showing off their loaded piece in public.
By contrast, concealed carry owners in Kansas must demonstrate their fitness for firearms. They complete an eight-hour weapons safety and training course, pay $132.50 in fees, are fingerprinted, photographed and pass through a litany of criminal record checks.
For open carry, no permit or training is required in Kansas. Just be a legal gun owner with the desire to tote around a loaded weapon.
Requests for concealed carry licenses increased by nearly 30 percent the past fiscal year, to 12,400. But a look at why the state stopped some people from getting a license in 2011 shows the wisdom of requiring a permit: 25 applications denied, 39 licenses suspended and 127 revoked.
The reasons ranged from keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders, habitual felons and people charged with rape, criminal threat with intent to terrorize, aggravated assault and taking indecent liberties with a child.
Thankfully, Kansas makes it easy for business owners who hope to keep Wild Bill and Jane from packing heat as they shop. The attorney generals website offers a downloadable no weapons allowed sign.
Just click, print and post. Go to ag.ks.gov/public-safety/concealedcarry/approved-signage.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.