On Thursday, Aug. 19, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Board of County Commissioners, along with county staff, will discuss a proposed resolution to regulate the discharge of a firearm across property boundaries in Johnson County, Kansas’ unincorporated area. The discussion will take place during Agenda Review. The item is scheduled for a BOCC vote the following week on Thursday, Aug 26.

Background information

The number of incidents involving stray bullets in the unincorporated areas of Johnson County has increased in recent years as more people have moved into those areas. After ongoing discussions with residents and the Sheriff’s Office, the BOCC adopted a resolution in September 2020, making an official statement to urge and promote the safe and responsible use and discharge of firearms in Johnson County’s unincorporated area.

As part of that effort, the Sheriff’s Office engaged in a safety and educational program to emphasize the importance of the safe discharge of firearms. Despite this effort, the educational program did not significantly impact the frequency of complaints related to firearm discharge.

Resolutions details

If the BOCC authorizes Resolution 052-21, this would provide the Sheriff the ability to cite persons on a non-criminal basis for the careless and dangerous use of guns. Violations would be prosecuted in Johnson County District Court in the County Codes division. Fines would range from $500 to $1,000. This regulation would not replace the existing state statute relating to criminal discharge of firearms.

Discharging a firearm with the bullet landing on one’s own property, or on an adjourning property where the property owner has granted permission for such activity, would not be a code violation, nor would a situation where the firearm is discharged in lawful defense of life. More details on the proposed code are available in this briefing sheet and this FAQ.

How to watch the Aug. 19 and 26 meetings

Meetings take place at 9:30 a.m., Thursdays at the Johnson County Administrative Building (111 S. Cherry Street, Olathe, 3rd floor) or can be viewed live at boccmeetings.jocogov.org or on Facebook (@jocogov).