I want to share with you a blog Kansas City Mayor Sly James posted last month. It outlines several steps the City and Police Department are taking to reduce gun violence and proposes other things that could make a difference.
He notes that police cannot solve this problem, and he is correct. Violence is a community-wide issue and requires a community-wide solution. Mayor James points out education is a major factor in violence prevention, and I’m happy to see the progress of the Turn the Page program. That program and ones like it, such as The Upper Room, are creating positive futures for youth who might otherwise have turned to criminal activity. I’ve also been pleased with how the City’s Club KC and Mayor’s Night’s programs have reduced mobbing issues at our City’s entertainment districts. These are great examples of outside-the-box and non-police solutions to crime problems.
The Mayor also confronts the elephant in the room: to reduce Kansas City’s gun violence, we must do something to address the abundance of illegal guns. Police work very hard at this, but we face an uphill battle. State law prevents the City from “affecting or interfering with the ownership, purchase, use, possession, regulation of any weapon or bullets, regardless of size, type, intended use or purpose.” Even if police stop known violent criminals and find a gun in their vehicle, unless they are a convicted felon, it is not illegal for them to possess a gun. No permit is required to have a gun in a car.
The next time you ask, “What are you doing about gun violence?”, read over the Mayor’s blog post to get an idea of the holistic approach the City and our Department are taking.
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