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Independence City Council passes changes to gun ordinance

Posted at 10:07 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 23:07:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Independence City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the city's "Safe Streets Regulations" during Monday's meeting, which raises the age for lawful possession of a weapon within city limits.

The old ordinance allowed a 17-year-old to possess a weapon "in the safe supervision and in the presence of a parent, guardian or the designee over the age of 21, of a parent or guardian.," but the age now has been raised to 18.

The law includes firearms as well as "any deadly weapon" — a term that includes a knife with a blade longer than four inches, brass knuckles, nunchucks, blackjacks, nightsticks, explosive weapon, projectile weapon or any other instrument designed to inflict physical injury or serve as a weapon and/or any instrument actually used to
inflict or threaten to inflict physical injury.

There is an exception for "the safe transport of unloaded rifles or shotguns" by minors for the purpose of hunting, target shooting or attending a safety training class.

Another amended provision prohibits a parent or guardian from giving a deadly weapon to a minor in Independence without first ensuring the minor has received safe-handling instruction through "a nationally recognized firearms certification program."

The burden for compliance rests with the parent or guardian.

"Parents are responsible for activities of their minor children,'' Independence Police Department Major John Cato told 41 Action News last month. "And there's nothing law enforcement can do that takes the place of parenting. Hopefully, this kind of collaboration, this ordinance helps parents understand we're engaged with them in assisting them, but ultimately parents need to know where their kids are and what they're doing."

Cato leads the department's Criminal Investigations Division, which includes a gun squad whose purpose is to stop gun crimes and get illegal guns off the streets.