KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas said he wants to see anti-gun violence measures in the works before the end of the year in Kansas City, Missouri.
The call for change comes after a violent weekend. Three homicides happened locally, and two mass shootings happened nationally.
“How can we invest in programs specifically targeted to creating people who have more value in human life?” Lucas said on Monday.
He said Kansas City has a cultural issue, and that’s what causes violence.
The three homicides happened in the first three days of Lucas' term as mayor.
The mayor said he'd like to bring back some form of a gun buyback program, last implemented in Kansas City in 1994.
“I know that doesn’t do everything but, frankly, what we have right now is a supply issue. It’s too easy for people, I think, to get firearms very quickly, particularly in the urban core of Kansas City,” Lucas said.
Deon’te Copkney, 18, was charged with second-degree murder in a shooting at 18th Street and Main Street Friday night during the First Friday art festival.
Lucas said he wants to know how kids are getting guns.
“I’d like to evaluate and it’s something I’m studying right now, introducing an ordinance that will allow the police to have more tools to confiscate fire arms that are in the hands of minors,” Lucas said.
Katheryn Shields, 4th District Councilwoman At-Large, said the state may limit the city's power to implement Lucas's ideas.
“That’s how far-sweeping and how absolutely destructive the Missouri State Legislature has become on cities trying to do anything to have sensible solutions to issues of violence in our city,” she said.
While Shields is calling on the Missouri Legislature to pass gun safety measures, Lucas said he wants to attack the problem locally, perhaps through a program that would do for vulnerable youth what the DARE program did for drugs.
“Why does a 17-year-old, a 16-year-old, feel the need to have firearms at an event like that? Why do they walk around with firearms everyday? Why do they feel so unsafe? These aren’t career offenders. For me, the issue is how do I stop that and intervene in that situation,” Lucas said.
Kansas City has a variety of programs aimed at preventing violence and supporting victims. Lucas said he’s in favor of programs, but the city needs to look at which are working and which aren’t.
Both Lucas and Shields said adding more police officers will not solve the problem.
“This year already seems like it's going to be a bad one, and I sure as hell plan on making next year not one of those,” Lucas said.
Lucas was meeting with prosecutors Monday afternoon to try to come up with more solutions.