Proposed ordinance could lift alcohol sale ban for certain felon

Proposed ordinance could lift alcohol sales ban for certain felons

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Felons that are currently banned from selling alcohol at bars, restaurants and businesses could soon be allowed to get an employee liquor permit.

City leaders must decide if they will pass an ordinance that will lift the ban for certain felony crimes.

"I was just young and dumb," said Gary Bindley.

Seventeen years ago Bindley was convicted of a felony crime.

"I ended up paying for it. I ended up doing time," he said.

When he got out, Bindley said he knew he wanted to change so he started waiting tables at upscale restaurants and he enrolled in college.

"It's allowed me to make more money in less time and enabled me to go to school," Bindley said.

Not everyone can do the same. In Kansas City, MO, anyone convicted of a felony property crime or felony DUI can't get an employee liquor permit within four years of the date of the offense. Property crime felony convictions include auto theft, burglary, larceny, arson, fraud, vandalism and tax evasion.

"What that means is they can't work at restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores in many cases," said Lora McDonald, the executive director of More2 or the Metro Organization of Racial and Economic Equity.

A proposed ordinance could allow currently banned felons convicted of a property crime or felony DUI to apply for an employee liquor permit.

"What we believe is that people deserve second chances," McDonald said.

Opponents of the proposed ordinance question the safety of customers if felons are allowed to serve alcohol. Supporters of the change say high level violent offenders will still be restricted from getting the permit.

"The common good really is looking after everyone, even if they've slipped and fallen down. To give them a chance to be employed. It just seems so reasonable to us," McDonald said.

City Councilman Scott Wagner sponsored the proposed ordinance. City council members referred the possible changes to the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee.

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