One of the few Black mayors of a major U.S. city is advocating for gun control measures in the hopes that they will lessen crime where he governs.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas unveiled two new ordinances on Tuesday, one of which would forbid minors from purchasing ammunition without parental permission. The other would outlaw “switches,” or gadgets that convert handguns into automatic weapons, The Kansas City Star reported.
This comes as Missouri’s largest city is on track to have another record-breaking year for homicides.
Lucas noted that both ordinances were written to avoid Missouri laws prohibiting local governments from passing their own gun control regulations.
“I say clearly and unambiguously,” Lucas asserted, “guns and ammunition being given to minors; guns in the hands of the wrong people; guns modified to be more potent, that the Prohibition-era machine guns are the problem and are killing our community.”
Lucas, who is at the beginning of his second four-year term as mayor, said the new gun control initiatives would build on the $30 million in additional funding for violence prevention programs approved by the previous council this year. He intends to present the ordinances at Thursday’s first regularly scheduled council meeting.
On Tuesday, Lucas and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, a fellow Democrat, participated in a “listening session” with Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves and Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of the anti-crime organization Moms Demand Action, where they heard from family members of gun-violence victims.
The deadliest year on record for Kansas City was 2020, which saw 182 killings, a number that includes fatal police shootings. According to figures compiled by The Star, there have been 118 homicides in the year’s first seven months. St. Louis reported 93 homicides on Monday, down from 103 during the same period in 2022.
Frank Scott, the Democratic mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, and president of the African American Mayors Association, notes that 14 of the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. have Black mayors, Politico reported.
As of 2023, Kansas City ranks 37th nationwide by population.
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