May 19, 2014

LAKE OZARK, Mo. — Complaints from residents are behind efforts to regulate where a firearm can be carried — either openly or concealed — in Lake Ozark.
On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance that makes it illegal for someone to carry a concealed weapon into any building that is owned, leased or controlled by the city.
Aldermen will discuss a proposed second city ordinance May 27 that would make it illegal to openly carry a firearm in some areas of Lake Ozark.
Police Chief Mark Maples said he suggested to city officials that the carrying of firearms within the city needed to be defined by ordinance after receiving a number of complaints and because of situations he had encountered within his own department.
It is now illegal to carry a concealed firearm in any police office, station or detention facility without the permission of the “chief law enforcement officer.” However, it is not illegal for someone with a concealed firearms permit to have the weapon in their vehicle while parking in a city lot.
“We were having bail bondsman and others come into the police station carrying concealed weapons despite the fact that there is a notice posted on the door prohibiting weapons in the building,” Maples said. “They all have concealed carry permits, and I don’t want to tread on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. But for safety’s sake, we can’t have anybody carrying firearms inside this building other than our own police officers.”
The ordinance also forbids anyone with a conceal carry permit from bringing a firearm into other city-controlled buildings, particularly City Hall, with the exception of elected officials.
Under the terms of the ordinance, violators would first be asked to remove the firearm from the premises. If they refuse to do so, they can be issued a citation and fined up to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. And if the person is convicted in municipal court, the court will also notify the county in which the permit was issued as well as the Missouri Department of Revenue of the violation.
If approved during the next Board of Aldermen meeting, the second ordinance would make it illegal for permitted firearms owners to openly carry their weapons inside the city of Lake Ozark “in any indoor or outdoor area, whether publicly or privately owned, in which the public has access by right or by invitation, express or implied…”
The ordinance goes on to exempt from the statute all local, state and federal on-duty police officers, prison officials and other law enforcement personnel who normally carry weapons as part of their duties.
Maples said he decided to go forward with asking to have the second ordinance enacted after receiving several complaints from “festival goers who were concerned about seeing regular citizens walking around openly carrying firearms.”
“I knew that when I asked to have the ordinances written I would have to take some heat,” Maples said.
“But people need to understand, it’s not that I’m against the second amendment. I fully support the people’s right to bear arms. It’s just that we have a lot more events in this city than in most others, and when people see regular civilians walking around a festival crowd with a gun strapped to their side, they naturally get a little nervous.”
Maples said because a lot of the town’s festivals are held on The Strip and there are a number of bars in the area people are also concerned that those carrying the weapons may be drinking heavily.
“We get thousands of people in town during events. And if some of those people are openly carrying firearms, it makes for an uneasy crowd,” he said.
“It’s not usually locals that carry the guns to the festivals, and I don’t want to be inhospitable and keep visitors from coming to the lake.
“But ultimately, it’s my job to keep the people in this town as safe as possible. And, there really is no need for a regular citizen to openly carry a firearm to a crowded community event.”
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