Looser state laws could affect law enforcement in Old Town

WICHITA, Kan. — A new ordinance cracking down on criminals in Old Town goes into effect Friday. And, as tougher laws are designed to keep the area safer, new less-restrictive concealed carry laws will also take effect statewide.

KSN looked into how it could affect law enforcement in Old Town.

Up in Lawrence city leaders are getting set to repeal weapon laws restricting knives because the new state law will supercede any local ordinances here in Wichita. The city got rid of its restrictions on knives nearly a year ago in anticipation of the new law going into effect.

As new stricter laws including a possible lifetime ban from Old Town for repeat offenders of crimes like loitering, disorderly conduct and use of a weapon.

“Such a diverse mix of people living, working and coming for entertainment. There’s a lot of unique challenges you have,” said Jason Van Sickle.

At the same time, the city’s law and police departments are reviewing how the state conceal and carry law will impact the city’s current dangerous weapons ordinance.

“From my experience it looks like something we probably have a current city ordinance, we either have to amend the ordinance or override it,” said Pete Meitzner

The council repealed part of the ordinance last June, removing knives from the dangerous weapons list to comply with a state conceal and carry law that now includes knives along with guns.

The city’s legal department told KSN, “It does appear that a number of ordinances including provisions relating to open carry of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor and all regulating relating to the transporting of a firearm will be required to be repealed.”

Business owners in the district say they fully support the new ordinance and most do not have signs restricting conceal and carry. Supporters of the new state law say it’s not the people with permit you need to worry about but the criminals who bring guns in anyway.

“This ordinance really just affects people who are going to do something wrong and break the law,” said Van Sickle.

The ordinance goes into effect Friday and KSN is told that police will give people warnings on violations like loitering and if people don’t move on after that they can face a fine of $500 for the first offense.

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