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Westport private street plan may be on hold until 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Following Sunday night's tragic shooting of an off-duty police officer in the Westport nightclub district, many have asked why city leaders continue to postpone the debate over a plan to privatize two streets there.

The proposal, backed by Westport neighborhood groups, would close off long stretches of Pennsylvania Avenue and Westport Road from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m., on Friday and Saturday nights.

City leaders in Kansas City recently postponed any new hearings on "privatizing" those streets, with metal detectors, to cut down on gun violence.

"Let's get it right," City Council Member Jolie Justus said. "Because frankly, if this would've already been in place, it would not have prevented the tragedy on Sunday night."

Justus, who represents the district, has a series of concerns over "privatizing" public streets in Westport and potentially limiting Constitutional protections.

Justus also points out that Kansas City Council's ongoing work with the airport terminal project is occupying the lion's share of the council's available hours. She also wonders if any version of a compromise "gun free zone" can work within the state of Missouri's gun control laws.

"But unfortunately, the legislature has not been able or willing to create laws that would allow for local gun control laws when it comes to firearms."