Kansas' open carry law turning into legal fight - KCTV5

Kansas' open carry law turning into legal fight

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LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -

Kansas' open carry law has turned into a fight, as a group threatens to sue if cities don't get in line, but some communities aren't budging.

There have been a lot of cities, including Overland Park, to adopt the open carry law, but there have been many holdouts, including Leawood. Soon those cities may not have a choice.

The Overland Park City Council touched off a heated debate when they decided to fall in line with state law and allow gun owners to openly carry their handguns in most public places across the city.

However, they were forced into action when city council members say the Libertarian Party threatened to sue them.

Now, the party is setting its sights on other cities across Kansas, including Leawood, Kansas City, KS, and Prairie Village, hoping they will fall in line as well.

Earl McIntosh, Libertarian Party spokesmen, said it is less about gun rights and more about civil liberties.

"We are not asking anybody to open carry. We are not asking anybody to carry firearms, but under our Constitution and Kansas law, people have that right if they so choose," McIntosh said.

McIntosh said fears over increased gun violence are misplaced, citing the track record of surrounding cities already allowing open carry.

"Kansas City, MO, [with] a million people, they are open carry for 150 years without a single incident. We just point these things out, but for some people that doesn't matter," he said

But community activist Tamika Pledger doesn't buy that argument.

"When you have such tragedies that happen, it is important to pull together. That is why I conduct the vigils," Pledger said.

Pledger has lost multiple family members to gun violence, with the latest shooting claiming the life of a loved one, Ebony Turner, last December.

She is most worried about the effect the law could have on young children.

"We are here to protect the eyes of our children, and the ears and hearts of our children. If we aren't thinking about them, monkey see, monkey do. Kids will most definitely mock after you," she said.

And while Leawood and Prairie Village have no plans to allow open carry, officials with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County say they have not yet decided what they will be doing.

Libertarian Party officials said a lawsuit is their final option, and that they plan to work with cities to reach an agreement on open carry.

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