The Kansas City Council should take a stand for public safety and local control today by approving an ordinance making it illegal to openly carry firearms in the city limits.
It’s the right thing to do. Gun violence is a scourge in Kansas City. The goal is to take weapons out of circulation, not encourage people to walk around with them slung over a shoulder or holstered on the hip.
Mayor Sly James was exactly on point when he urged the City Council to pass the ordinance, saying guns have no place in shopping malls, churches, restaurants and other places where people want to gather peacefully with their friends and families.
If the Missouri General Assembly has its way, cities will soon lose the ability to limit or ban open carry of firearms. The legislature passed a bill this session nullifying local ordinances that ban people with concealed carry permits from carrying their guns openly. Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but it could be reconsidered during the veto session in September or revived in next year’s legislative session.
The City Council should take advantage of this window of opportunity. A ban on open carry of firearms sends a message that Kansas Citians value safety. By upending the local ordinance, the legislature would be making the opposite statement. And it would reveal its hypocrisy as a body that blusters endlessly about the heavy-handed federal government but is quick to stomp on the rights of cities and counties to do what’s best for their communities.