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JoCo commission set to vote on resolution that would hold reckless shooters accountable

Resolution bans shooting across property lines
bullet in keys home wall
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 19:38:15-04

OLATHE, Kan. — The Johnson County commission will vote on a new resolution on Aug. 26 that will make it unlawful for someone to shoot a gun across property lines.

"We get shots-fired calls all the time," said Sheriff Calvin Hayden at the commission meeting Thursday.

One of those calls came from the Keys family, who has been instrumental in pushing for action.

"Unfortunately, what happened to our family has uncovered the lack of legislation and safety laws for our area, but I think today's agenda topic and, hopefully, next week's resolution will start to be movement in the right direction," Katie Keys said.

Last May, four bullets hit the Keys' Stilwell home. One bullet landed feet away from where Katie and her husband work and where their children play. Those bullets came from another property a third of a mile away.

"I understand people shoot in rural areas, but that doesn't mean we should expect to be hit by an AK47 in our own home, and there's nothing we can do about it," Keys said.

The Keys family says they're glad their effort has gone this far and they'll continue to fight until they see some accountability.

They ultimately want changes to the state laws, and they have Kansas Rep. Jo Ella Hoye on their side.

The sheriff's office and the district attorney's office also support the resolution.

"What we want to do is promote good gun safety for individuals, and most people do that, but when that doesn't happen, I think it's important to have some mechanism to hold people accountable," said Steve Howe, district attorney.

Under the proposed resolution, the sheriff's office would issue the citations and they would be handled as civil penalties in the codes court.

Kansas doesn't have a criminal negligence charge, so this resolution was their only recourse.

Anyone who violates the resolution could pay up to $1,000 per bullet.

However, individuals are not responsible if they own the property where the bullet is fired and lands or if they have permission from that property owner.

"This not is just rules on paper," Keys said. "These are people and kids and lives that are being jeopardized if nothing changes."

The commission will vote on the resolution next Thursday and seemed to unanimously support the resolution.