KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas said new city ordinances are aimed at getting guns off the streets and keeping guns out of the hands of minors in a press conference on Aug. 8.
Lucas said the ordinances give local law enforcement the the ability to be more aggressive in charging and prosecuting minors who are found in possession of firearms.
The first ordinance will ban the possession of firearms by anyone under the age of 18. The second ordinance bans the transfer of a firearm to a minor.
“What we are doing today is banning the possession of a handgun by minors,” Lucas said.
He said it’s already against federal law to posses a firearm as a minor without consent. However, he said federal prosecutors usually don’t pursue minor-in-possession charges because they have bigger cases to handle. He also said police typically don’t like to make arrests if there won’t be any charges that follow. The new ordinances will mirror the federal laws on a local level in order to give local prosecutors the ability to pursue charges.
“Typically what we see is the seizure of a firearm, but there are no charges,” Lucas said. He said in these cases, teens are let go, and authorities are required to give the gun back to the minor.
“We have the authority to arrest. We have the authority to confiscate the firearm,” Lucas said about the new ordinances. “What we’re trying to do with this is the same thing we do with minors in possession of alcohol.”
The conference comes after a wave of violence involving guns immediately after Lucas’s inauguration on Thursday, Aug. 1. A body was discovered lying in the street later that same day. The next day, a woman was killed by a stray bullet at a First Friday celebration in the Crossroads District.
Lucas said he was heartbroken to learn of these homicides directly following his swearing in ceremony.