KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms visited Kansas City Tuesday and Wednesday.
Steven Dettelbach said he didn’t come to Kansas City because it is on the verge of possibly breaking another homicide record. On the contrary, he says Kansas City is a model for the rest of the nation when it comes to crime fighting.
“For generations we’ve had too much gun violence in our community,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said standing side by side with Dettelbach.
That violent trend continues. 160 people have been killed so far this year in Kansas City, trailing only 2020 as the deadliest year ever. But the unfortunate killings also have given Kansas City unique experience in investigating them, most as the result of gun violence.
Tuesday at the Rose Brooks Center, ATF Director Steven Mettelbach met with the Mayor, Police and others including advocates for victims of domestic violence.
“We are facing in America and here in Kansas City a firearms violence problem that is urgent it is constant and it is dangerous,” Dettelbach said.
As much as he wants to help Kansas City solve that problem, he also wants to see how the city has been relatively successful in catching those responsible. 105 of the city’s 160 homicides this year have been solved or cleared according to KCPD statistics.
“The work that is going on here in Kansas City is what I came to see it is a national model,” Dettelbach said.
He’ll attend what’s called a “shoot review session” at police headquarters Wednesday morning. It’s a weekly collaboration to investigate all aspects of each of the city’s shootings, from what’s known about any potential suspects, to the gun itself used in the shooting to try to find the person who pulled the trigger.
“The partnership between the federal government and local law enforcement and community advocates that fight every day for survivors is an example for the entire United States of America,” Dettelbach said again praising Kansas City’s efforts.
“We didn’t get into this problem with just one cause we won’t get out of it with just one solution we are committed to working together with every institution in this city, state and our country,” Lucas said.
The mayor also asked the ATF Director about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, billion dollar legislation aimed at going after straw purchases of guns and weapons getting into the hands of minors. Dettelbach said so far he hasn’t been given the resources to enact any of those measures.
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