The voters of Raymore, Mo., have an unusual choice to make on Nov. 2, says the Kansas City Star: should city council members be allowed to carry concealed firearms during meetings. The anti-gun crowd worries that a council member could go “crazy” during a contentious meeting, pull a gun and start shooting. The pro-gun forces fear a “crazy,” irate citizen may come through the door blasting and a well-armed council may be the last line of defense.
A question on the ballot would amend the city charter and do away with an ordinance passed this year that allows council members to carry concealed weapons during meetings. The ordinance also lets anyone with a conceal-and-carry permit to take a gun into city buildings and parks, and makes it legal to transport a gun in a vehicle even if the person does not have a conceal-and-carry permit. Signs for both sides line streets all over town. There is also this twist: A “no” vote will mean “yes” to allowing guns. Both sides agree voter confusion may play a role. Supporters of the proposal to undo the ordinance say council meetings are often cantankerous and tension-filled – why put guns in the mix? Only police need be armed at public meetings, and no one has to be armed when paying a water bill or enjoying an afternoon in a city park, they say. Opponents say the Second Amendment and Missouri law give citizens the right to carry concealed weapons. They also say they think it is foolhardy to rely entirely on police for public safety. Theycite the 2008 “City Hall Massacre” in Kirkwood, Mo., when a gunman went to a council meeting and killed six people, among them the mayor, who died later.