New Topeka Gun Laws, Groundbreaking Date Discussed At Council Meeting

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-A change in city gun regulations and a potential date for ground breaking on a new Topeka fire station were among the issues discussed by council members.

Fire and police safety were of top concern amongst the panel, City Manager Jim Colson introduced amendments that he would lie to see in the 2012 Uniform Public Offense Code. Among them, a revision to current gun laws in Topeka.

The right to bear arms is always a hot topic of debate and tonight was no different.

Jim Colson along with Topeka Chief of Police Ron Miller, want to amend the city's current UPOC to allow the transportation of a loaded weapon in a vehicle.

Some council members expressed reservations, but all, including Mayor Bunten voted in favor. It's a change that Chief Miller feels will be a success.

"Right now the current law is prohibiting the good citizens. Criminals don't pay attention to gun laws as it is anyway. This will allow citizens who aren't using the guns to commit crimes to protect themselves.

A safety measure brought up in discussion on next year's Capital Improvement Budget: Currently District 9 is without a fire station and council members are concerned about the lack of response time in the event of disaster in that area of the city.

Sylvia Ortiz was happy to hear Fire Chief Greg Bailey say the long-talked about plan should break ground in spring 2013, on land on the former Menninger campus.

"It so important for District 9 to have a fire station...area response times are critical and so far we've been lucky," said Ortiz.

With loaded firearms in vehicles now legal in topeka, Chief Miller suggests charging people who have a weapon in their vehicle while committing certain misdemeanors, with an additional possession violation.

A first reading on the proposal will be conducted next week.

Also on the agenda, Mayor Bill Bunten proclaimed that every second Saturday of every month will be Local Business Saturday in Topeka.

The Council, along with Mayor Bunten, passed approval for a loan purchase agreement for $877, 000 to purchase 30 new police vehicles. Chief Ron Miller believes 30 "American made," Ford Explorers are the best economical choice.