City-rural split heading for gun fight

jamesstate-of-cityFiring away, Mayor Sly James on Monday launched an effort to change state gun law.

He and Police Chief Darryl Forte wrote an editorial in the Kansas City Star urging change, and James hammered for it in his state of the city address.

They support a bill introduced by Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Kansas City Democrat. It would create universal background checks for gun sales and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns.

“It certainly would help if we can take some illegal guns out of the hands of idiots running wild in this city,” James said.

The current one-size-fits-all approach to guns shaped by rural areas does not work, he said. “What’s good for rural Missouri is not good for Kansas City and St. Louis.”

The two proposed changes have helped reduce gun violence in other cities, the mayor and police chief said in the editorial.

“These provisions promote responsible gun ownership by law-abiding residents while preventing firearms from falling into the hands of those who would use them to hurt or kill others,”it states.

At the state of the city speech at Park Hill High School, James had 90 students stand up, which represented the 85 percent of the city’s 106 murders last year committed by firearms.

If one kind of car was causing that high of percentage of traffic fatalities, it would be taken off the market, he said.

The gun bill changes would not restrict the rights of lawful people to get a gun, he said, and they would save lives.

A study published in the March edition of Journal of Urban Health found that the 2007 repeal of a Missouri law requiring a background check on gun purchases contributed to an additional 55 to 63 murders a year from 2008 to 2012, the editorial states.

Also from it:

States that have universal background checks have fewer homicides. Studies show that up to 90 percent of Americans support background checks, including 74 percent of the National Rifle Association.

Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns deters gun trafficking and can help solve crimes.

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