KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Quinton Lucas doesn’t want voters to lose sight of the issue of gun violence.
While the economy, gas prices, the Jan. 6 hearings and Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine have reclaimed the spotlight in recent weeks, the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, wants to keep the ongoing search for waves to quell gun violence at the forefront of voters’ and policymakers’ minds.
“We want our children, we want our families to be safe,” Lucas said Thursday in an interview with Newsy. “Everybody recognizes a country with 400 million guns is too many. We keep making that point and I think that’s how you can speak to suburban moderates, who I think have very real concerns that in states like Texas now all the kids have to have clear backpacks. It’s insanity, and we want to make sure that our children and our families are safe.”
Congress reecently passed the first major federal gun reform legislation in decades after the latest spate of high-profile mass shootings recently at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store; a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school; and a Highland Park, Illinois, parade.
Lucas said he supports Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, who is leading the charge in Congress to end immunity for gun manufacturers from liability for the guns they make.
Two CEOs of gun manufacturers testified Wednesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Lucas agreed that it’s imperative to investigate the impact “the flood of firearms without restrictions and without background checks being followed” has on increasing violence in U.S. cities.
On Lucas’ watch, KCMO joined a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Jimenez Arms as a public nuisance.
Lucas said he’s part of a collection of mayors from cities besieged by violence — including Baltimore, St. Louis and Tampa among others — trying to coordinate resources to improve the governmental response to violent crime.
“The oddest thing that has happened since 2020 — the protests and all of that — is that I think for a while in this country we all lost sight of the fact that we are all actually rowing in the same direction,” Lucas said. “There is no community in our country that wants to see more deadly gun violence. There is no community in our country that doesn’t want true bad actors off the streets. And there’s no community in our country that doesn’t want better trust between the community and the police, because that’s how we solve crimes.”
KCMO endured a record 179 homicides in 2020 and another 157 last year, which was the second-most in the city’s history, according to KCPD’s Daily Homicide Analysis.
So far in 2022, there have been 90 homicides, which puts KCMO on pace to have more homicides than 2021. There had been 86 homicides in the city through July 27 last year and 110 in 2020.
Lucas continued to question the wisdom of Missouri’s approach to gun laws — which encourages citizens to carry concealed weapons, places almost no restrictions on gun purchases and ownership, and punishes local law enforcement for assisting federal law enforcement in gun investigations.
“Missouri’s laws in connection with gun control are totally backward,” Lucas said. “We have a Second Amendment Preservation Act, which makes it a crime with a fine if our police department works with federal agencies in anything that may relate to a Second Amendment violation. How do they know? Who defines it? How do they avoid federal preemption? Nobody knows. They just pass these laws, so they’re not worried about it.”
When asked what the root of the gun-violence problem is, he said, “Very simply, it’s guns,” Lucas said. “It is the ready and available access to any types of firearms, the lack of any restrictions in the state of Missouri.”
He said the Show-Me State is “not unlike Texas” with no restrictions on concealed carry of firearms, the availability of assault rifles and scant investigation of illegal gun trafficking.
Lucas also lamented the impact it has on police officer safety.
“Our police are not just overworked, but they find themselves at risk of getting shot as well,” Lucas said. “We saw an officer buried in the suburbs of Kansas City just yesterday (Wednesday) after a vehicle stop led to his death.”