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Kan. town to defend ban on open carry of firearms

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. (AP) -- One of three northeastern Kansas communities being sued by the Libertarian Party over local bans on open carry of firearms is vowing to fight to keep its prohibition in place.

The government of the Johnson County community of Prairie Village said in a statement Monday it would "vigorously defend home rule authority and this challenge by a pro-gun organization to the city's ability to enact gun control measures within its borders," The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/V7dTHA ).

Officials of nearby Leawood and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., have not yet responded publicly to the lawsuits filed last week by the Libertarian Party of Kansas. The party is seeking injunctions to bar enforcement of the local bans.

Prairie Village city administrator Quinn Bennion said attorneys for the three governments have been in discussions for several weeks about defending their bans. He said the cities expected to be sued after receiving a letter from the Libertarian Party of Kansas stating that it would file lawsuits if they did not agree to lift their bans.

The lawsuit against Prairie Village alleges the city's codes conflict with state law and the Kansas Constitution. Libertarian Party officials noted a section of the Kansas Constitution which provides that a "person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose."

In a statement on Friday, party officials said they would continue to fight against bans of the open carry of firearms in Kansas cities "until all law-abiding citizens in Kansas have freedom from persecution to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms by open carry."

The Johnson County community of Lenexa is the only other city in Kansas that bans open carry, according to Libertarian Party officials. But the city wasn't sued because, according to party officials, Lenexa officials recently said they would discuss the matter with the Libertarian Party.