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Missouri Town Bans Openly Carrying Firearms to Keep Family-Friendly Atmosphere, Attract Tourists

A Missouri town has banned the open carrying of firearms in its town so it does not lose its ‘family-friendly’ appeal.

Lake Ozark’s Board of Alderman voted to institute the open carry restrictions because local businesses and residents worried that people carrying guns around town would scare away tourists, a leading industry in the community that has been struggling in recent years.

“We’ve had a tough time over the years promoting Lake Ozark as a family area,” Alderman Larry Buschjost, who voted for the ban, explained. “We want you on the Strip with families, everywhere in Lake Ozark with families. We want you to bring your kids down here and let them loose. For the life of me, I don’t understand why I would have to carry any type of gun, concealed or otherwise. ”

Local resident Art Sergeant also supported the ban, pointing out that while he supports the 2nd Amendment, common sense should prevail.

“I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, but I think someplace along the line common sense has disappeared,” he told the board in support of the measure. “It worries me that an advocate of open carry walks into a facility and encounters somebody who’s an advocate of conceal and carry. These people are going to encounter each other and what do you think is going to happen? There’s going to be a shootout.”

Not everyone, though, thought that the ban was constitutional, and claimed that their rights were being violated by the city ordinance.

“It’s a violation of my Second Amendment rights,” Gail Maeder said opposing the gun ban. “Just because somebody felt scared is not a good enough reason to pass an ordinance that violates the Second Amendment. People don’t understand the Constitution, and it’s very important to me that my kids and grandkids have the same rights that I do.”

While currently in effect, the open carry ban may be short-lived. A bill passed by the state legislature would make open carry legal throughout the state, trumping any local ordinances. The bill is currently waiting to be signed into law by the Governor.

Photo Credit: Eli Christman (Open Carry Advocates)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.