By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
A city councilman is trying to close a loophole in an ordinance that could have Overland Park resembling the Wild West.
Concerned about the threat of a costly lawsuit, the Overland Park City Council decided last month to allow residents to openly carry their handguns, provided they were in a holster with the safety engaged.
The move brought the city in line with state laws that bar cities from restricting gun owners from carrying their weapons openly.
"I've had many people approach me saying they don't support open carry. However, if we are going to have open carry they think it is crazy to just let anyone strap on and go wherever they want to go with a gun on them," city council member Jim Hix said Tuesday.
But council members, including Hix, have been flooded with calls and comments from residents worried about having more guns on the streets.
So Hix is proposing a change.
He wants anyone openly carrying in public to first have a concealed carry permit. Hix says that is the simplest way to protect citizens without violating state law.
"We can do this without adding any bureaucracy. We can add a layer of security. We can require training. We can eliminate people with certain criminal convictions from being able to carry," he said.
Councilman Paul Lyons was the lone dissenting vote, never seeing a need for the open carry provision.
"Overland Park is one of the safest cities in the United States. I felt there was no need for anyone to openly carry a weapon around Overland Park," Lyons said.
And while Lyons is still against the provision and would like to see it reversed all together, he says this is better than the alternative.
"I will support the proposed change. I think it is a step in the right direction," he said.
Hix will make his proposal to the city council public safety committee Nov. 14. If approved, the full council will then vote on the proposal.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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