Council considers new ban on open carry of guns

city-hallPhoto used under a Creative Commons license courtesy William Hook

A ban on open carry of guns, the mayor argues, embraces common sense of the old west

A city council committee on Wednesday advanced an ordinance to ban the open carry of guns.

The unanimous vote of the public safety committee came after Mayor Sly James explained why he introduced the measure.

It goes to the full city council today.

It is one of the few things possible under state law that generally forbids cities from passing more restrictive gun laws than the state, James said.

And that is only because a proposed state law to forbid cities from banning open carry failed this year in the general assembly.

James said more guns in the city mean more death from murders and accidental shootings.

Open carry is also bad for business in Kansas City and St. Louis, which together bring in about half the state revenue, he said.

Tourist and shoppers don’t mix with people carrying rifles on their backs or pistols on their hips, James said.

He noted that concealed carry permits require background checks and training, which open carry does not.

Councilman Scott Taylor said, “We’re proud to live in the Midwest but I’m not sure we want it to be the wild west.”

James replied that sheriffs in the old west usually forbid people carrying guns in town.

“I would gladly go back to the wild west – they had common sense then,” James said.

But to ban open carry in the city, all other city gun laws must mesh with state law. So the city ordinance also includes a change that can make it legal to carry guns while intoxicated.

City law – in conflict with state law – currently forbids carrying guns while drunk. State law allows drunken gun carry unless a gun is fired negligently or not in self defense.

The city council tried recently to change its unenforceable law on that to comply with the state law but James led a successful effort to keep the city law.

Now he is reversing his position on that in order to get the ban on open carry.


  1. Louis Tofari says:

    I actually feel safer knowing I am in the company of my fellow lawful and armed citizens.

    A lot of crime is deterred just by seeing a holstered pistol (nobody walks around with rifles).

    And it’s safer neighborhoods and city areas that increase business, etc.

    Criminals never obey laws – so they certainly will not blush at committing robberies in areas where a carry-open ban is enforced (and thus a decrease of potential determent to their nefarious activities).

    That’s why law-abiding citizens should continue (as foreseen by federal and state Constitutions) to exercise their rights of self-protection in public areas.

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