City council faces state change in gun laws

Councilman John Sharp. Photo courtesy City of Kansas City.

Councilman John Sharp. Photo courtesy City of Kansas City.

You can’t legally drive drunk, but soon in Kansas City you can be drunk and carry a gun.

Holding its collective nose Wednesday, the city council public safety committee advanced a bill that would make it so.

The full council is expected to approve it today.

City Attorney Bill Geary said the city had to make that change because the state legislature has made it in state law.

And city laws on guns can’t be more restrictive than those of the state.

Under the new city law, an intoxicated person can carry a gun unless he uses it in a negligent or unlawful manner or fires it in something other than self defense.

Geary noted that it is a crime if a person drinks and drives and does not have an accident but the state has decided that logic does not apply to guns.

“To my mind, it’s a disconnect,” he said.

Councilman John Sharp, chair of the public safety committee and a former state legislator, said he was confronting an old issue.

More than 30 years ago, he said, he worked to pass the old state law that made it a crime to carry a gun while drunk.

The state general assembly did away with that in recent years. Sharp said it also wiped out a law that forbid people to have a gun in the driver or passenger area of a vehicle unless it was unloaded or unable to fire.

Now people can have a loaded gun in the car without even a concealed carry permit, Sharp said.

He and other city officials have long been critical of such state gun laws.


  1. Diane Hershberger says:

    The article title beside John Sharp’s picture gives the impression that our Councilmember is a drunk who carries a gun. I doubt this is what you intended, but it is the impression that is made if someone does not read the article. A different article title seems in order along with an apology to Councilmember Sharp.

  2. Diane:
    You make an excellent point. We have changed the headline and apologize to Councilman Sharp for any misperception the previous headline may have caused. Thanks to our readers as always for keeping us on our toes.
    Mary Jo Draper, Editor, Midtown KC Post

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