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Thread: Topeka Capital Journal - Topeka Open Carry to oppose police chief's bid to ban open carry in city

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    By Tim Hrenchir
    March 14, 2010 - 4:17pm

    Regardless of what the Topeka City Council decides regarding the open carry of firearms in Topeka, somebody won't like it.

    Supporters of a proposed ban on open carry say the city came to allow it by accident, and any potential benefits of continuing to let people tote loaded firearms in public are outweighed by the resulting risk to public safety.

    Opponents say the ban's passage would amount to another government infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for protection. They say no specific incident has taken place to trigger a change in the rules.

    The Topeka City Council at a work session this past week heard Police Chief Ron Miller speak in favor of an ordinance proposed to prevent the open carry of firearms in public. The measure was introduced by city manager Norton Bonaparte.

    Scores of opponents watched from the audience as Miller and assistant city attorney Kyle Smith addressed the council. A date hasn't been set for that body to act on the measure. Because a first reading is required before action may be taken and the proposed ordinance isn't on the agenda for this week's meeting, it appears the earliest the council could act on it would be March 30.

    The proposal would ban any person on property open to the public — unless specifically exempted by state law — from openly carrying on their person a loaded firearm or from having within their immediate control any loaded firearm. It would include an exception for the concealed carry of a handgun by anyone who has a concealed-carry permit.

    Miller told the council he became aware Topeka allows open carry when citizens brought it to his attention. He asked the council to make a conscious policy decision as to whether it will allow open carry here.

    . . .

    Miller said the open carry of firearms is not regulated by the state.

    That assertion was challenged this past week by Earl McIntosh, a retired Marine and co-founder of Open Carry Topeka, a group formed late last year in support of open carry rights here.

    McIntosh said Kansas statute 42-4204 makes firearms possession illegal for certain types of individuals — including convicted felons, the mentally ill and people addicted to illegal drugs — while 42-4204(a) bans possession by anyone younger than 18 years old of a firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches long.

    McIntosh also addressed a statement Smith made to the council that the city's failure to change current rules could result in gang members openly carrying firearms in neighborhoods to intimidate residents.

    McIntosh noted that retiring Topeka police Maj. Ron Brown told The Topeka Capital-Journal for an article published last September that Topeka gangs are much more covert than they used to be. He added that gang members trying to intimidate people would violate Kansas statute 21-4228, which prohibits "criminal street gang intimidation."

    McIntosh said the value of open carry was demonstrated when it defused a situation last month that posed a potential threat to Cory Merrifield, a 24-year-old Topeka man.

    Merrifield said Friday that the incident occurred as he had begun warming up his truck after 10 p.m. on a Saturday evening as it was parked outside his home along S.W. MacVicar. He said he was scraping ice off the windows to prepare to go to his job at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant when three male strangers approached, cornered him against the truck and harassed him about giving them a ride.

    Merrifield said he normally doesn't carry his pistol but had tucked it into the front of his belt minutes earlier.

    "Something was just telling me that I should do that," he said.

    As the strangers continued to confront him, Merrifield said, "I just turned the right way and they saw the gun in my belt and they just pretty much ran off as soon as they saw it."

    Merrifield said that if he hadn't been armed, he could have been robbed of his vehicle or other possessions.

    Council members were told this past week of two situations in which the presence of someone openly carrying a firearm had come to involve Topeka police. Both times, officers talked to the man involved and let him go.

    One situation involved a man who had been walking on the Kansas Avenue Bridge carrying a scoped rifle to a pawn shop.

    The other involved McIntosh, who intentionally walked in southwest Topeka's Clarion Woods neighborhood wearing a green reflective vest and holstered pistol while walking a dog and carrying a video camera.

    McIntosh said the purpose of the walk was to educate people about city rules allowing for open carry.

  2. #2
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    The Proposed Ordinance pisses me off just reading it.

  3. #3
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    KSA12-16, 124(2) allows Topeka to regulate Open Carry Loaded Firearms.

    However, the same Law, excludes Persons with Permits, issued under KSA 75-7c.

    Therfore, both Open and Concealed Carry would be Legal with a Permit issued under KSA 75-7c, not just Concealed Carry.

    The only places off-limits for those with Permits, even if the Ban were to be enacted, would be:

    1. The places listed under KSA12-16, 124(3), if Topeka specifacally enacted them. This is optional, and is not required, and

    2. The places listed under KSA 21-4218, as they apply to Major State Buildings, i.e. State Capitol, Governors Mansion, Supreme Court, Local Courthouses, etc. (This doesNOT include: smaller State Buildings, i.e. DMV, Tag Office, etc., nor does this include: Local/City/County Buildings, except for those listed in 1, if enacted pursuant to KSA 12-16, 124(3), and

    3. Schools K-12, per KSA 21-4204, and

    4.IF THE WEAPONIS CONCEALED, then, a Permit Holder may not: Carry a CONCEALED Weapon to ANY PLACE enumerated under KSA 75-7c, 11. HOWEVER, this does not apply to OPEN CARRY. Therfore Concealed Carry is Illegal at a Local Library, but Open Carry is not. In this Case remeber 1, but if you have a Permit in ANY OTHER Public Place..., then,it is no problem.

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