Prairie Village allows open carry starting July 1 - KCTV5 News

Prairie Village allows open carry starting July 1

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The Prairie Village City Council agreed Monday night to allow people to openly carry weapons effective July 1.

The decision to repeal the current ordinance banning open carry came as a result of litigation that was filed last year.

You need a conceal carry permit to have a gun in your bag or purse or underneath your jacket. But if you can legally purchase a gun or knife, then you can openly carry it starting July 1 even when walking on city sidewalks or in a city park.

Grant Nelson sued the city and says the 6-5 council decision is a victory for gun owners. He will consider now dropping his lawsuit.

"For me this whole thing has been about individual liberty and individual responsibility," Nelson said.

Prairie Village and Mission Hills Police Chief Wes Jordan says it's not good for his 47 officers who will be forced to respond to gun calls differently, adding even dispatch will have to be retrained.

"There are no training requirements," Jordan said. "If you are able to purchase a gun you are able to carry it openly, the only thing if you want to conceal that gun you have to have a conceal carry permit."

Jordan said it will be important to educate the public, saying many won't realize that Kansas law now allows gun owners to carry publicly. So when a frantic mother calls 911 because she sees a man carrying a gun on the sidewalk outside her child's school, officers and dispatchers must now consider that the man may be carrying legally, Jordan said.

Officers and dispatchers will now have to get important questions answered.

"Before, an armed person with a gun meant bad things can happen, that's changed," Jordan explained. "Now our dispatchers are going to have to ask a lot more questions when someone calls in a person armed and again it may not be illegal, we're going to have to sift through that and see is this person friend or foe?"

He says the law does not provide police with the necessary guidelines on how to respond properly, meaning officers and the department could be more likely to find themselves sued.

Nelson said it will be up to officers to decide how best to approach open-carry gun individuals and does not think it will be a big deal since it's already law in other cities in Kansas and the entire state soon.

"Open carry is the law and it has been in Overland Park and Shawnee. There aren't scores of people walking around with firearms," Nelson said. "It's not going to be the Wild West."

Jordan said the state will be releasing new signs to post on businesses, police departments and city buildings that will allow them to decide if someone can carry a gun or knife inside.

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