The Washington City Council is considering a ban on open carry of firearms. Police Chief Ken Hahn has asked the council to pass an ordinance that would prohibit people from openly carrying a firearm in the city.
There is no need for anyone other than a law enforcement officer, or the military, to openly carry a firearm in the city.
We do have in Missouri a law that permits the carrying of a concealed weapon as long as a permit is obtained. To obtain a permit, the process includes a degree of training in the use of the firearm.
The police chief said there has been a man observed openly carrying a handgun in a holster. There is no law against what the man is doing unless a business or government building with a sign prohibiting anyone with a firearm to enter is entered. Chief Hahn said he is being proactive and the issue is one of safety. A councilman said an ordinance should address all city property, including the parks. That’s a good suggestion.
It should be noted that Missouri allows open carry of firearms, but counties and municipalities can pass laws restricting the practice. There is a bill in the Missouri Senate that would bar cities and counties from enacting any laws to restrict firearms. The bill was filed by Sen. Brian Nieves, Washington.
Counties and municipalities should not be restricted from enacting laws to ban the open carrying of firearms. The state should not interfere with safety concerns in a municipality or county. We hope the Nieves’ bill dies in the Senate. And we hope the Washington council exercises its authority to enact an ordinance to address a safety concern brought to the attention of the public by Chief Hahn.