KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s no secret that Kansas City has a problem with gun violence.
The year 2020 marked the city’s deadliest year at 179 homicides with 169 deaths in 2022. Not only that, but Kansas City consistently ranks among the FBI’s Top 10 Cities with the Highest Violent Crime Rates.
“Kansas City’s been high on this list for almost my entire life, and that’s a little under 40 years. I think it’s time to commit to the fact that we’re going to make change happen,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas, which is why he officially introduced two new ordinances at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
The first would ban those 18 and younger from buying bullets without parental consent.
The second bans “switches,” which are used to modify handguns into automatic ones.
As the language stands, the penalty for violating either one is six months in jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000.
“We have seen them increase dramatically in the last year,” Lucas said when referring to the rise of shooters using switches.
What makes that more concerning is that 57% of Kansas City’s shootings were done with handguns in 2022. Data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol shows that’s up 10% from the previous three years.
“These are people that are shooting back and forth,” Lucas said. “They can outgun our officers with the fire power they have now, and it is horrifying.”
The mayor’s proposed ordinances come nearly a decade after state lawmakers passed a bill preventing cities and counties from enacting gun policies. But Lucas said he drafted his in a way to skirt that.
“Change does not happen through status quo,” he said. “Change does not exist through the same solutions as always, and so you need innovative solutions like this one.”