KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City Mayor Sly James is calling for gun reform after six people died and 22 were wounded in the first days of August.
Bernice Brown, 43, was killed last week while trying to break up a fight involving her son. Xindong Hao, 38, died that same day after being shot by a man who police said was on drugs. Tyrone Standifer, 54, was later found fatally shot in a vehicle.
Last weekend ended with three men being charged Monday with unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated.
James expressed frustration with the city’s gun violence at a press conference Monday with Police Chief Rick Smith, the Kansas City Star reported.
The 74 homicides so far put Kansas City on pace for about 120 killings this year. The projection is under the 150 people killed in 2017, which was the city’s most violent year since the early 1990s.
James said he’s pressed lawmakers for gun reform many times, but there’s no progress because of political ideology.
“There’s this mantra of Second Amendment above all else, free guns for everybody,” he said. “We have to change that. I can’t change it alone.”
The mayor identified the root issues that are often fueling the bloodshed, including absence of licensing laws, limited training or background checks for those obtaining weapons, and no requirements for reporting stolen guns. James also pointed to poverty and the lack of early childhood education that encourages conflict resolution skills.
He said he’s considering making another attempt at passing local gun legislation, even though it would be pre-empted by state law and possibly antagonize rural legislators.
“I think it might be interesting to see just what happens if we tried,” he said.