The Libertarian Party of KS worked with the city of Topeka to make open carry in vehicles a reality!!

Thank you to everyone helped make this a reality.

By Tim Hrenchir


Topeka’s governing body on Tuesday evening legalized the transport of loaded handguns in occupied vehicles.

Police Chief Ron Miller said the move was part of a trade-off in which the governing body will be asked soon to make it illegal to possess a firearm while committing any of more than a dozen specific misdemeanors.

The governing body, which consists of the nine council members and Mayor Bill Bunten, voted 10-0 to approve an ordinance adopting a revised version of the 2012 Uniform Public Offense Code, a codification of Kansas statutes developed by the League of Kansas Municipalities.

The city has been operating under the 2011 UPOC, which includes a ban on the transport of loaded handguns in occupied vehicles, but that ban isn’t part of the 2012 UPOC.

Miller told the governing body transporting loaded handguns in occupied vehicles is legal in probably 90 percent of Kansas, including unincorporated parts of Shawnee County, but not in some large population centers.

He said he partnered with local 2nd Amendment advocates to try to find a workable arrangement that would allow good people to carry loaded guns in their vehicles but ban gun possession by those who commit crimes.

Miller said the governing body would consequently be asked soon to consider a proposal to make it illegal to possess a firearm while committing more than a dozen specific misdemeanors. Those include assault, battery, stalking and theft.

Miller said the trade-off wasn’t a perfect solution but was negotiated in good faith and would give his department an additional crime-fighting tool.

The ordinance the governing body approved adopts the 2012 UPOC except for its sections regarding smoking, cruelty to animals and domestic battery.

The council last year repealed its ordinance banning domestic battery to force the district attorney’s office to handle the prosecution of people who commit domestic battery in Topeka.

City code already contains provisions regarding cruelty to animals and smoking in public places, though city attorney Dave Starkey plans to ask the governing body soon to vote to revise sections of the current smoking ban ordinance that his staff considers legally defective. Starkey suggested the most noteworthy change would be that the city would prosecute violations criminally in Municipal Court instead of dealing with them administratively.

Governing body members also voted 10-0 to approve a lease-purchase agreement with U.S. Bancorp Government Leasing and Finance Inc. to acquire police vehicles over three years at a cost of $888,955.67.

Money from the police department budget will finance the arrangement, through which the city is expected to acquire 27 to 34 vehicles, plus necessary equipment.

Miller said the department was looking at acquiring Ford Explorers instead of the Ford Crown Victorias it has gotten in the past.

The governing body also held a work session, which began prior to its regular meeting and ended after it.

Finance director Pam Simecka completed a presentation she began last week on city manager Jim Colson’s proposed 2013-2014 capital improvement budget and 2013-2017 capital improvement program. The council is expected to consider approving the proposed CIB and CIP on Dec. 18.

The CIB lists capital improvements the city may consider in the next two years. The CIP lists priorities for improvements to be carried out in each of the next five years. The council must still approve budgets for individual CIB and CIP projects before they can be carried out.

The proposed CIB and CIP includes spending $600,000 in 2013 to construct curbs and gutters and put in a drainage system on S.E. 21st Street between S.E. California Avenue and a site located about 700 feet east of S.E. Carnahan Avenue. The city would pay for the project by borrowing money through issuing general obligation bonds.

The city chose not to put in new curbs and gutters while rebuilding that stretch of street this year using revenue from a citywide, half-cent sales tax Topeka voters approved in 2009.

Starkey’s office concluded the tax’s revenue couldn’t legally go to put in curbs and gutters where none previously existed.

Also on Tuesday, Fire Chief Greg Bailey told the council the city plans to break ground during the first quarter of next year on the construction of a fire station in the 5800 block of S.W. 6th.

Council members voted in June to approve the construction project. Bailey said he expected firefighters to be running calls out of the station by spring 2014.