Prairie Village brought out the big guns on Monday night during a presentation on firearms at the City Council meeting.
Assault rifles similar to those used in recent massacres, shotguns and pistols were on display as part of “Guns 101,” an overview of guns on Prairie Village streets and laws that govern them.
City Administrator Quinn Bennion said the Police Department was asked to appear in response to gun questions from council members and staff. Also in attendance were state Reps. Barbara Bollier, Stephanie Clayton and Melissa Rooker.
Some council members commented on how easy it is to obtain a gun. “It’s easier to buy a gun than it is to buy Sudafed,” said Councilwoman Laura Wassmer.
No mention was made of the lawsuit filed by the Kansas Libertarian Party against Prairie Village for banning open carry. The lawsuit contends banning open carry violates state law.
Some of the weapons on display were those used by the Prairie Village Police Department, while others were confiscated in drug deals and in traffic stops, said Sgt. Byron Roberson.
Two assault rifles similar to those used in the Sandy Hook and Aurora massacres that had been confiscated in the city were on display. Roberson said an expert shooter could fire two 30-round magazines from the guns in about 20 seconds.
Because the guns aren’t accurate, they’re made for the military rather than hunting, he said. “But they are very devastating,” he added.
Roberson said national gun sales increased dramatically following the Sandy Hook School shooting and subsequent discussions regarding gun control. He said it is not just gun enthusiasts buying guns and ammunition — many first-timers are purchasing guns.
“Ammunition and guns are flying off the shelves,” he said. “There’s a six-month waiting list and we’re having difficulty finding ammunition.”
When it comes to obtaining a conceal carry license, Roberson explained that the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office can deny license applications based on applicant’s criminal records or mental health history. Cities don’t have input regarding concealed carry licenses until after they have been issued by the sheriff’s office and attorney general.
Police Chief Wes Jordan said that in his career he has seen a correlation with mental illness and a fascination with guns.
In new business, the council discussed a request from Jack Shearer of the Jazz Fest Committee for $10,000 to be used as seed money to hire a professional fundraiser.
Several council members said they were concerned because the proposed contract doesn’t include guarantees regarding the amount of money that will be raised. About $35,000 was raised last year. Action on the request is scheduled in two weeks.