Mayor Calls KCMO Homicide Rate ‘Slow Motion’ Mass Murder

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mayor Sly James is calling for action and change to stop the rising homicide rate and what he calls a "slow motion mass murder".

On Wednesday James and other city leaders announced the new No Violence Alliance, or NoVA, that focuses on cracking down on KC's most violent criminals, and offering services to people who want help getting out of a life of crime.

But the mayor also talked about a national hot button debate right now: guns.

Mayor Sly James says state law makes it incredibly difficult for cities to do much of anything when it comes to gun control issues. But he says he's looking for areas where the city can act and is working to convince lawmakers that cities need more control to get a handle on gun violence within city limits.

The mayor proposed, for example, a city ordinance requiring gun owners to report when a gun is lost or stolen.

"So the police department knows there's another weapon on the street," James said, "so if they find that weapon engaged in some other crime robbery or homicide they know or have some sense where that weapon came from."

James also would like to talk to the state about certain law changes like tougher penalties for drive by shootings, and he thinks certain changes might be needed to the conceal carry law.

"Now you can have a weapon in a vehicle concealed under the seat," he said, "and I don't think that was what was meant."

Mayor James says the current state law is very rigid, it basically only allows cities to pass laws that reflect exactly the state law. But he'd like to convince lawmakers to give Kansas City more control over gun laws within his city limits.

"I'd like for the state to recognize that the city of Kansas City and St Louis are not the same as Hannibal or Osceola," he said, "we have different issues and it requires a different approach. I'd like to see them recognize the major cities need to be able to take action in the best interest of their citizens, and doing something about illegal guns on the streets is something we could and should do, but we just don't have that power."

In terms of the national gun debate, James has also indicated he supports an assault riffle ban, saying he doesn't want "semi-automatic 30 round magazine weapons in the cars of 18 year olds driving around Kansas City."

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