Overland Park Just weeks after allowing Overland Park citizens to openly carry weapons, city officials are considering adding some restrictions after getting an overwhelmingly negative response from residents.
The city council voted in September to allow gun owners to carry firearms in public places if they are kept in holsters with the safety engaged. Guns are allowed in all public places, except city-owned buildings and buildings that post signs specifically prohibiting weapons.
"The public has not been pleased," council member Jim Hix said Tuesday about the response.
The council's vote came after Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion late last year that a city must allow citizens to carry loaded weapons but may impose restrictions on how that is accomplished.
A council committee will consider next month tightening restrictions to require those who openly carrying weapons to have the same permits currently required to carry concealed weapons, The Kansas City Star reported.
Those restrictions allow only U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old to carry weapons. They also must successfully complete an eight-hour weapons safety training course, and there are restrictions based on criminal history, drug arrests, mental health issues and more.
"It is a common sense issue that we have an opportunity to level the requirements and do it in a fairly simple and straight-forward manner," said Hix, who's proposing the tighter regulations.
Resident Laveriss Steadham said she thinks the city shouldn't have allowed the open carry of weapons and wishes residents could had voted on the idea.
"I would love to see some restrictions," she said. "But I'm afraid the barn door is open now."
Earl McIntosh, Second Amendment coordinator for the Kansas Libertarian Party, said Tuesday the proposed changes would create confusion because the ordinance would vary from one Kansas city to the next.
"Our biggest concern is for uniformity," McIntosh said. "Overland Park needs to let this ride for a little bit and find out there is going to be no problem."
McIntosh said a legal challenge is likely if Overland Park imposes restrictions.
Paul Lyons, the only council member to vote against allowing the open carry of firearms, said the proposed changes would ensure that those who do walk around with holstered weapons have the proper training. But he also believes no one needs to openly carry a weapon in Overland Park.
"It certainly is not for self-protection, because if they wanted it for protection, they would have the option of obtaining a concealed permit," Lyons said.