Lawrence knife law stymied by new state measure

05/20/2014 1:32 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Lawrence bar patrons will soon be able to bring their daggers, dirks and stilettos into local drinking establishments and other businesses in the college town because of a state law taking effect July 1 that prohibits local governments from regulating the carrying of knives.

A law passed this year by the Kansas Legislature intended to create uniform regulations for firearms statewide.

That means Lawrence – and other Kansas municipalities with any weapons-regulating rules – must repeal ordinances that prohibit people from bringing concealed weapons into any city drinking establishment or onto public property adjacent to a drinking establishment, assistant Lawrence city attorney Maria Kaminska said.

Business owners can still post the official “no guns” sign at their entrance, which still makes it illegal for concealed-carry license holders to bring concealed firearms into the establishment. But that doesn’t apply to knives.

Lawrence’s knife law made it illegal to carry a “dagger, dirk, billy, blackjack, slungshot, danger knife, straight-edged razor, stiletto” or other such weapons. But the state law – backed by Gov. Sam Brownback and fellow conservative lawmakers – explicitly says that cities don’t have the authority to have such local prohibitions, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

“I guess it doesn’t matter until somebody uses one,” said Jerry Neverve, owner of the Red Lyon Tavern downtown. “In my opinion, it is just more wackiness from Mr. Brownback and the Legislature.”

Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx also said he didn’t like that the Legislature was taking away the city’s ability to regulate such issues.

“I’m always of the opinion that decisions that impact Lawrence are better made locally than in Topeka,” Amyx said.

City commissioners still must decide whether to post a second no-guns sign at City Hall and other city buildings forbidding openly carrying guns inside.

While the new state law removes a city’s ability to regulate open carry, local governments are allowed to post a sign prohibiting open carrying of guns in public buildings. The current no-guns signs on public buildings only make it illegal to bring concealed weapons onto the premises.

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