The Kansas Senate this week passed a bill that would strip cities and counties of the right to regulate the carrying of firearms within their limits. The bill is of particular interest in northeast Johnson County, where both Prairie Village and Leawood have faced legal action as a result of their ordinances prohibiting openly carried firearms.
Sen. Kay Wolf, whose district includes all of Prairie Village and the northern part of Leawood, abstained from voting on the bill. We asked her to share her thinking on the legislation. Here’s what she had to say:
My reason for passing was there are parts of the bill I think are good and parts I disagree [with]. We passed wide sweeping gun legislation last year regarding cities’ and counties’ ability to regulate concealed carry unless proper safeguards are put in place (with the exception of K-12). I voted no [on that bill] as I do not believe in circumventing local control.
However, last year’s bill passed and it is current law. SB 447 provides uniformity and allows entities to post to not allow open carry within their establishments. As one sheriff stated that train has left the station. With the passage of legislation last year, I believe uniformity is good and I agree with entities having the ability to determine if they do or don’t want open carry. However, on the other hand I disagree with local units of government and counties not being allowed to decide what is best for their respective entities.
For that reason, I passed. Interestingly, the Kansas Chief of Police and the Sheriffs Association supported the bill which made it more difficult to determine the bills merits. The bill passed with wide margins so my vote was not a determining factor.