Because much of the Wichita River Festival is held on city-owned property, the new state law preventing local governments from restricting open carry of firearms might seem to conflict with a rule in the event brochure: “Don’t bring weapons of any kind to the festival. The festival footprint is not a legal ‘conceal and carry’ or open-carry area.” But according to the city’s legal department, the festival grounds are controlled by private Wichita Festivals Inc., not the city. “They can establish the appropriate rules of conduct, which would include no open carry,” chief deputy city attorney Sharon Dickgrafe said in an e-mail. “However, they will have to enforce these provisions through their private security.” She added that Wichita Police Department officers “cannot be involved in enforcing regulations that exceed state law.” Though reassuring for many, the continuing gun-free policy surely will rankle those who think the right to carry shouldn’t be curbed anywhere for any reason. The new state law, by the way, goes into effect July 1.
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