Archive for Monday, November 24, 2003

City requires residents to have guns

Geuda Springs locals say law is nobody’s business but their own

November 24, 2003

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— Residents of this tiny south-central Kansas community near the Oklahoma border say an ordinance requiring some households to have firearms and ammunition is nobody's business but their own.

The City Council voted 3-2 earlier this month in favor of the ordinance -- under which noncomplying residents would be fined $10 -- because council members believe it's necessary to provide protection in a town that has no local police force, marshal or money to protect its residents. People who suffer from physical or mental disabilities, paupers and people who conscientiously oppose firearms would be exempt.

"I think we are losing our rights in this country so fast," said Councilman John Brewer, who initiated the ordinance. "Protection is one of the duties mandated to city government. This ordinance fulfills the duty to protect by allowing each individual householder to provide for his or her protection.

"This is simply using the U.S. Constitution -- Second Amendment in particular -- to the city of Geuda Springs' advantage."

Sumner County Sheriff Gerald Gilkey, whose department is responsible for policing Geuda Springs, said the ordinance would make him concerned for the safety of his officers when responding to calls.

"I'm definitely thinking officer safety," Gilkey said. "This throws up red flags."

Gilkey said no resident of Geuda Springs had ever contacted the Sheriff's Department to complain about the service they'd received.

The town's city attorney, Thomas Herlocker, also opposes the measure, which hasn't gone into effect. He said he planned to ask the council to reverse itself on the issue. The council meets next on Dec. 1.

Phillip Russell, who owns a motorcycle shop in the town, and other residents are tight-lipped about how they feel about the law. Many either won't talk about the issue or say it's an issue for the town's residents and nobody else.

"It's nobody's business but our own," Russell said. "Everybody out of town is making this their business."

Whitney Watson, spokesman for Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, declined to comment on the legality of such an ordinance.

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