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Clarification Regarding the “Open Carry” Ordinance

7/26/2012
Dale Goter, Government Relations Manager | DGoter@wichita.gov | (316) 371-0134

An open-carry ordinance was adopted by the Wichita City Council on July 17 and took effect upon publication in the July 26 edition of the Wichita Eagle.

City of Wichita Unlawful Use of Firearms Ordinance

  • In 2007, the Kansas Legislature passed a firearms statute prohibiting local governments from enacting ordinances which prohibited the open carry of firearms. “Open carry” means that the weapon is clearly visible to others.

  • The City’s existing firearms ordinance, which prohibited the open carrying of a loaded firearm, appeared to be in conflict with the longstanding state statute allowing open carry.

  • In recognition of that conflict, the Wichita City Attorney asked the Kansas Attorney General for a legal opinion regarding the conformity of the state firearms law and the City’s ordinance.

  • After a lengthy review, the Kansas Attorney General issued an opinion that the City’s open-carry ordinance was more restrictive than the existing state law. In recognition of the 2007 statute, the Attorney General advised that the local ordinance should be changed to conform to the existing state law allowing open carry.

  • Based on the Attorney General’s opinion, the City Attorney drafted changes to the City firearm ordinance and presented the proposed changes to the City Council on July 10.

  • The new ordinance allows for the lawful open carry of a firearm. The only exceptions, as provided by other state and city laws, are City Hall, the Courthouse and various detention facilities, where open carry is still prohibited.

  • State law allows the City to regulate the “manner” in which a weapon is carried openly, including the requirement that it be holstered with the safety engaged and remains in control of the individual carrying the weapon.

  • The change in the City ordinance has NO effect on concealed carry permit holders.

  • State law allows the City to regulate the transportation of weapons in vehicles. Citizens are prohibited from carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle if the weapon is reachable by the individual. Concealed-carry permit holders are exempt from this restriction.

  • Private businesses can prohibit individuals from carrying either concealed or open weapons on their premises.

  • The ordinance change allowing open carry is scheduled for second reading by the City Council on July 17. Upon approval by the City Council, the ordinance will take effect upon publication, which usually follows in 3-4 days.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Is open carry allowed in City buildings where concealed carry is prohibited?
The City has the authority to prohibit concealed weapons and/or unconcealed weapons in City buildings. Private businesses have the same option. For example, a private business could prohibit concealed weapons, but allow open carried weapons.

What is required of an individual to open carry a weapon?
There is no permit or training required by state law to carry an unconcealed weapon.

What types of weapons can be open carried?
By the language of the ordinance, only pistols or revolvers would be allowed to be carried openly, since the firearm has to remain in a holster.

Why do the standards appear to be more lenient for open carry than concealed carry?
The differences between the rules for concealed carry and open carry appear to be based on the Legislature’s perception that a concealed firearm is a greater threat to public safety than an openly carried firearm.

Download the Open Carry Ordinance.
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