KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City council members voted on an ordinance to ban the open carry of firearms within the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday, and the outcome was unanimous.
Kansas City Major Sly James didn't hold back his feelings as he spoke to Kansas City Council members on Thursday. He was extremely open about urging the council to say "no" to allowing anyone to walk around the streets of Kansas City and openly carry or display a gun.
"Open carry may work in rural areas, but I don't live there and it's not the way to go for Kansas City, " said a passionate Mayor Sylvester "Sly" James during the City Council meeting, which started an hour late.
Thursday afternoon it took Kansas City Council members less than 30 minutes to say "yes" to the controversial open carry ban.
“We’re making progress. We’re going in the right direction. Open carry is a wrong direction to go,” said Mayor Sly James to the city council. “In this city where violence is a problem, where women are battered and beaten, where people get drunk and get into hassles and fights at bars, I don’t think that we ought to be giving them a gun to take it to the next level and saying that’s okay. Open carry doesn't make sense.”
He said he did not want firearms openly carried into churches, schools, restaurants or any other public places.
"As of right now, we have had 39 murders in our community. That's a sad statistic, but I've talked to Police Chief Daryl Forte and we both agree that we are making progress in fighting crime. Moreover, in a city where gun violence is a problem, we do not need to allow people to just go inside a McDonalds, a supermarket or any other public place and walk in openly carrying a firearm,” said Mayor James.
The Missouri General Assembly recently passed a bill that would prevent local ordinances from prohibiting open carry for anyone with a valid concealed carry permit. Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but lawmakers will likely try to override it in September. While that veto remains in place, the city says state law gives them the green light to regulate open carry.