43 states allow open carry in public, and the only state besides Kansas which does not yet generally preempt localities from banning open carry is neighboring Missouri.
Though most Kansas localities do not regulate open carry at all, a few have enacted bans on open carry that would reach even “unloaded” open carry. General Schmidt’s confirmation that localities cannot regulate unloaded open lends urgency to the need for these localities to identify and repeal such unlawful ordinances.
“What needs to happen now,” says John Pierce, co-founder of OpenCarry.org, “is for localities to review their ordinances, regulations, and policies for compliance with Kansas law and ensure that any local open carry restrictions apply only to “loaded” open carry.”
But Pierce goes further and urges Kansas localities to “just repeal all open carry bans on the books because the police cannot constitutionally seize open carriers and inspect firearms unless they first have ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the gun is loaded or some other crime being committed.” Detaining open carriers to check them out “is a good way for cities and counties to get sued and taxpayers to pay judgments,” adds Pierce.(3)
Unfortunately General Schmidt’s opinion raises more questions than it answers as to whether localities may ban concealed handgun permit holders from carrying loaded guns openly. Opines Schmidt without any explanation:
“A city or county may regulate the manner of openly carrying a loaded firearm on the person of a concealed carry permit holder. . . . [But a] city or county may not regulate the manner of openly carrying a loaded firearm in the immediate control of a holder of a concealed carry permit when such holder is on public property.” (bolded emphasis added).
Without the aid of any court opinion yet construing these two apparently conflicting rules of law, it’s not completely clear what they mean. However, the term “on the person” would appear to either be a subset of, or synonymous with, the term “in the immediate control.” Either way, construed in this manner, the second rule of law provides a safe harbor from the regulation allowed by the first rule whenever the permit “holder is on public property” (presumably meaning property open to the public).
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