KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Calls for an end to violence are all too common in the metro. As elected officials look for solutions, many are directing the blame toward Jefferson City and Washington, D.C.
"Are you disgusted? Yes! But just being disgusted is not enough," U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo), told a crowd gathered at the Penn Valley Education Center on Wednesday.
The congressman was joined by Mayor Quinton Lucas, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, KCPD Chief Rick Smith and others for a community event focused on ending gun violence.
"Right now our issue needs to be nothing, nothing more important than fixing violent crime in our community and fixing gun crime in our community," Lucas said.
Representatives from Moms Demand Action, Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime and March for Our Lives also took the stage.
A similar theme ran through almost every speech. It was the idea that any real solutions must involve the state and national capitals.
"Gun laws matter. It's one thing, it is one tool, but it does matter," Peters Baker said, "Because if you look at Missouri, it is not an accident we're in this position."
Missouri has permit-less concealed carry. KCPD Chief Smith pointed out Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield are all in the top 12 of the FBI's most dangerous cities list.
"What does that say about our public policy in the state of Missouri?" Smith asked.
Capitol Hill, specifically Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, drew much of the focus Wednesday night. Several speakers urged people to contact their members of Congress about gun control measures.
"Three hundred million Americans, and 1 American is holding it up," Cleaver said, referencing legislation McConnell has yet to bring to a vote.
Research has shown 97 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales. H.R. 8 passed the House in February of this year.
"If the Senate Majority Leader is forced to bring to a vote H.R. 8, then we know this works," he said, "And if it works, we have to keep doing it until we get as many sensible laws passed that we need to reduce the number of homicides."