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Mayor Sly James Pushes for an Open Carry Ban in Kansas City
At Mayor Sly James’ urging, the Kansas City Council’s public safety committee on Wednesday endorsed a measure that would ban people from openly carrying firearms in the city limits.

“Our community is not a battleground,” James told the committee.

He said aggressive open carrying of weapons can be intimidating for customers and bad for business, and he pointed out that the tourist town of Lake Ozark has also voted for such a ban, even by those with a concealed carry permit.

Councilman Scott Taylor applauded James’ proposal and said, “We’re proud to live in the Midwest, but I’m not sure we want to be the Wild West.”

James replied that the Wild West actually had sensible gun regulations, as sheriffs required people to turn in their guns when they came into town. He said guns have no place in shopping malls, churches, restaurants and many other places where the public gathers.

The full council will consider the measure on July 31. But its long-term prospects are uncertain.

The Missouri General Assembly passed a bill that would void any local ordinance prohibiting open carry for anyone with a valid concealed carry permit. Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but the General Assembly is likely to try to override that veto in September.

James said that while the veto remains in place, state law currently gives cities the latitude to regulate open carry of firearms, so Kansas City needs to do that.

“We’re saying this does not make sense in the middle of Kansas City, Mo.,” he said. “If you want to do this out in a rural area, that’s cool. How much would you shop at the Plaza if you walk down there and every third person had a rifle on their back?”

The measure tentatively approved Wednesday also was drafted to make city law conform to state law with regard to intoxicated people. Currently, city law prohibits intoxicated people from carrying weapons. But the General Assembly changed state law to allow intoxicated people to carry weapons, as long as they don’t handle the weapon negligently or discharge it. Now the city must change that portion of its law to mirror state law.

By: Lynn Horsley, The Kansas City Star

Patrick Signals Support for Gun Measure Backed by Police Chiefs
Governor Deval Patrick Wednesday said he sides with top police officials who want discretionary powers in issuing licenses for shotguns and rifles included in pending gun legislation.

The measure was included in a House version of the bill but stripped out of the Senate version.

Police leaders, including Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, rallied at the State House Tuesday in opposition to the Senate plan.

“I side with the police chiefs who were here yesterday and the law-enforcement officials, that the House version is the stronger of the two,’’ Patrick told reporters, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office.

Under current law, police chiefs must give people who pass a background check and meet other basic criteria a firearms identification card, which allows them to buy shotguns and rifles. But for handguns, police chiefs have discretion on whether to issue a license to carry and can deny one if they deem an applicant unsuitable. The disputed part of the bill would give chiefs the same discretion they currently have on issuing handgun licenses and apply it to rifles and shotguns.

Patrick said he hopes the version finally approved by leaders of both houses in the Legislature will “come out closer to the House version.’’

Asked if he would sign the Senate version, the governor replied that it was too soon to say. “You know I can express my preference right now, but you know how the sausage is made,” he said. “We’ll see what we get in the end.’’

With the issue raised by police set aside, Patrick said the measure overall “represents a compromise and a pretty constructive one ... I think in either case we will have a bill that is a step forward.’’

By: John R. Ellement, The Boston Globe

NRA Kicks off Voter Registration Drive with Provocative Ad
A suggestive ad by the NRA for its voter registration campaign will likely get tongues wagging.

The spot features a father talking to his son in a somber tone about something that’s not a toy, but is important to protect their family. He unlocks a case to reveal … a voter registration card.

The ad is part of the National Rifle Association’s Trigger the Vote campaign, aimed at increasing the number of registered voters — especially among gun owners. Andrew Arulanandam, public affairs director at the NRA, said the ad will run online and on cable backed by a seven-figure buy.

Actor Chuck Norris of Walker, Texas Ranger and The Expendables 2 will serve again as the campaign’s honorary chairman. The NRA will be sending teams to register voters across the country and has an event Friday in Southern Pines, N.C. — one of the states with a key Senate race that will help determine party control.

“The only protection against attacks on our Second Amendment rights and the democratic process is your vote,” reads the message on the Trigger the Vote website beneath a picture of Norris. “And this year in particular, we will need each and every individual gun owner’s vote, in every precinct and every district across the country.”

Arulanandam said the NRA is seeking to register as many voters as it can and to get its grass-roots network involved to counter former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plans to spend $50 million to motivate voters.

The NRA’s voter registration campaign, which began in 2009, is a program of the NRA’s Freedom Action Foundation.

By: Catalina Camia, USAToday