First they came for Wichita, then Overland Park and now, the Dot.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Libertarians, that is, pressing for the Unified Government to align with the state law on openly carrying loaded firearms. Its legal in Kansas. Wyandottes ban doesnt square.
Its not an idle threat, as Overland Park found out last week when the City Council changed its statutes to negate the possibility of a lawsuit. Wyandotte County is the last large municipality not in sync with the state law.
A series of certified letters to each commissioner, the county administrator, the district attorney and other officials were sent, months ago. No reply, to the letters or phone calls, which has understandably irked Libertarians.
Wyandotte officials say they are taking things under advisement. Theyre looking at options, which appear to be few.
And thats where any angst this causes open-carry detractors ought to focus.
The municipalities are pardon the pun sitting ducks now. They are surrounded as Earl McIntosh, Second Amendment chairman of the Kansas Libertarian Party, said.
Other state legislatures have handled open carry with a higher sense of fairness to all instead of rolling over for a belly rub by gun rights activists. Take Oklahoma, where a new law goes into effect Nov. 1.
Heres what Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said in signing the open carry law this spring, a statement that couldnt be made in Kansas: Senate Bill 1733 sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property. It does so in a responsible way, by requiring those citizens who choose to open carry to undergo both firearms training and a background check.
Kansas has permissive open carry. No permits, with their extensive background checks, are required and no safety training the very things that reasonable people would expect.
Kansas legislators apparently didnt think this necessary.
Still, societal norms matter.
McIntosh, of Topeka, said he carries openly about 20 percent of the time. And he agreed with the contention that some people probably dont carry loaded firearms openly because they know that some others might not be comfortable seeing a holstered weapon.
McIntosh is mindful of appearing respectable. He noted that many who open carry are careful to wear a tucked-in shirt and a holster that rides high on the waist. No slacker sloppiness.
Partly due to dignified appearance, McIntosh acknowledged that people sometimes assume open carry people are undercover officers, maybe security officials. And that implies that they also are heavily trained and thoroughly vetted for use of a lethal weapon.
Blame the Legislature, but thats a false assumption in Kansas.
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