KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas met with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and the mayors from three other Missouri cities Monday as part of an ongoing conversation about violent crime.
Lucas, who has made curbing violence the central priority of his administration, said the goal of the meeting was to identify concrete steps to combat gun violence.
"Missourians are getting tired of us just kicking the can down the road, and so we started these meetings with a goal of ‘Let's take concrete and decisive action in our cities,’” Lucas said.
Lucas said they discussed a three-pronged approach to combat crime.
The first step involves witness protection and relocation. Lucas said people are afraid to talk to police, and he wants to change that.
Those efforts statewide would cost around $1 million, Lucas said.
The next step is to create “triage centers” for people who seek resources in hospitals and jails.
"There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in our community that shouldn't be in the ER, they shouldn't be in jail," Lucas said. "What we need are these types of assessment treatment centers that allow you to look at those who are dealing with mental health trauma, with substance abuse (and) allow them a to find a way to come up with solutions for those concerns. But then ultimately to allow them to actually not have to be in the justice system, to not be in the ER system, both of which are much more expensive than actually giving somebody counseling that they need long-term."
Lucas said Parson was supportive of the idea and plans to look for funding in the next budget.
Finally, city and state leaders discussed was responsible gun reform, which may include the following:
- Banning the possession of firearms by domestic violence offenders;
- A statewide ban on possession of handguns by minors, particularly concealed carry;
- Banning the possession of firearms by repeat violent offenders, even if they aren’t convicted felons.
Lucas said loopholes in the current system allow people to own firearms even if they have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that was downgraded from a felony charge. The suggested reform would change that.
“When we talk about gun reform, responsible gun reform, this is what we're talking about," Lucas said. "It's nothing crazy. It's not taking things out of law-abiding citizens' hands."
Lucas said Parson said he would consider making gun reform a statewide legislative priority.
This was the fourth meeting between Lucas, Parson and the mayors of Columbia, Springfield and St. Louis about gun violence.