Man who sued PV over gun control reacts to open carry ban repeal; some residents express disappointment with city’s decision

Jay Senter - June 18, 2014 8:48 am

A day after the Prairie Village City Council repealed its ban on openly carried weapons to comply with HB 2578, the man who filed a lawsuit against the city over the issue says he’s likely to formally drop legal action.

Grant Nelson
Grant Nelson

Grant Nelson, a one-time lieutenant governor candidate for the Libertarian Party, said he expected his attorney to meet with the city attorney at some point to ensure that “all the details were squared away,” but that he intended to drop the suit. Nelson said in the wake of the Monday’s council action that for him, the issue had never been about guns specifically, but about residents’ rights to protect themselves:

For me, this has never been about guns, per se. For me, personally, this has ALWAYS been about individual liberty and personal responsibility. My personal safety and the safety of my loved ones are MY responsibility. It is not the role of government to make us “safe.” In fact, governments have a fairly poor track record of keeping their citizens safe. No, the true role of government is to protect the rights of the citizens. For that reason, I felt the open carry ban was wrong. The ban did not protect peoples’ rights but, instead, actually took rights away – specifically the right of self-defense.

Nelson also said that he may take advantage of the right to openly carry in the city.

“As far as the appropriateness of openly carrying a firearm at a public park, people do it all the time – with children in tow – in other cities,” he said.

But the prospect of seeing a firearm hanging from someone’s hip in a community where openly carried weapons have been banned for some time poses concerns for law enforcement officials. Police Chief Wes Jordan wondered after the vote Monday how his department would best deal with a situation where a parent worried about school violence decided to wear a handgun on his hip as he walked his son or daughter to school.

“Another parent might say, ‘Oh my God, there’s a man with a gun going down to the school, why aren’t the police doing anything?’” Jordan said. “What are we supposed to do with that scenario? That’s one of my biggest fears.”

Several residents expressed dismay Tuesday at the passage of the repeal, taking to social media and email to voice their opinions. One resident, David Harrison, sent the council a lengthy email saying he wished they had stood up to the state on the matter.

Our police officers are at risk, our children are at risk and the logistical implications of your action are at best daunting… We expect that our local government should act for the best interests of its citizens, in particular when our local interests are in conflict with the State’s viewpoint. Individually, citizens in Prairie Village have little control over action on a state level… HB 2578 should be challenged by local governments across the state! It should be challenged by city councilors who know what their constituents want; by Mayors who remain steadfastly committed to their communities and by citizens who hold their local officials to task. In this instance, I am of the opinion that the City Council and Mayor have failed in their obligations to Prairie Village. 

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