Kansas City Mayor: Gun buy back programs don’t reduce shootings, curfews do

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gun ownership is such a hot topic right now. Some want tougher gun laws while others fight for the right to bear arms. But regardless of where you stand on this issue, one truth remains. Too many people are being shot to death, killed by guns and the people who use them.

According to Kansas City police, 56 people have been killed so far in 2013. That's about the same number of people who were killed by this time of year in each of the past five years. Forty-eight of those killed this year died from gunfire.

Mayor Sly James recently posted a blog about what he thinks should be done to stop gun violence. He argues that gun buy back programs and vigils aren't working.

What he believes is working are city-wide curfews, the opening of community centers to young teens and the efforts of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance where officers, prosecutors and federal officials work together to get violent criminals off the streets while providing potential criminals the resources to find a job.

But he says the overall best way to reduce inner city violence is to improve the school system.

Only 33 percent of all third graders in Kansas City can read proficiently and the Mayor says those who can't read by third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school.
Many of those who don't graduate go to a life of crime where it costs three times as much to jail them than to educate them.

He believes the Turn the Page program and Early Childhood Education Commission will help improve the education of Kansas City children. But he adds it takes time to turn around a culture of violence and he hopes parents will take responsibility and steer their children away from the cycle of violence still plaguing Kansas City streets.

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