KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fifteen people were injured and two killed, including the suspect, at the 9ine Ultra Lounge on Sunday night in Kansas City.
The nightclub shooting is lighting a fire under city leaders and some state lawmakers to institute new laws in a state that has some of the most lax gun laws in the country.
“It’s not just Kansas City. This goes above and beyond the city. It’s a state issue,” said Jim Ready, manager of KCMO Regulated Industries.
Police say 29-year-old Jahron Swift was responsible for the shooting. They said he may have been in prison instead of at 9ine Ultra Lounge Sunday night — if not for Missouri state law.
In 2015, Swift was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon and was given a suspended sentence and probation. In 2016, Swift pulled the same charge and if convicted, would have gone to prison.
But that same year, the Missouri Legislature made it OK to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and the charges against Swift were dropped.
“I am disturbed by that because the Legislature really should and really does have a moral obligation to protect our citizens,” Rep. Richard Brown said. “And in this situation, this is something that slipped through the cracks and it should not have happened.”
Brown is one of the lawmakers who have proposed legislation to tighten up gun laws in the state. More than a half dozen bills have been written up to try and prevent these types of tragedies.
“It has almost become a normal trend. We are starting to see these situations over and over and over and over again, it’s starting to be part of the norm and it’s not normal. We have to stop the behavior,” Brown said.
State legislators will also ask for funding through the budget process to pay for things like after school programs, assistance for gun violence survivors and suicide prevention.