Citizens task force clamors for answers about criminal access to guns in the metro

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Citizens Task Force on Violence meeting got heated Tuesday night at The Public Heath Building. A representative with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was there to answer questions about gun-related crimes across the metro. Several task force members demanded to know how criminals in our area get their hands on guns and why more isn't being done about it. Some task force members even yelled during the meeting.

John Ham, with ATF, explained that agents have to follow federal law and can sometimes be limited on what they can do.

"There are very good federal gun laws a lot people don't think they go far enough and some people think they go way too far," Ham told FOX 4. "ATF doesn't get the benefit of deciding that, we are asked to enforce federal gun law as it is written."

Ham said it is easy to get drugs off the streets because they are illegal. When it comes to guns, though, they are legal for some and not for others.

"The enforcement of federal gun law is a little bit different, the item itself it's not illegal," he said. "In fact, the gun itself itself is very rarely illegal, it's the person that makes it illegal."

Ham said ATF agents got more than 1,700 guns off the streets in the greater Kansas City area in 2015.

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