- Associated Press - Sunday, May 9, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says a Missouri law that prevents cities from enacting their own gun control measures hamstrings his efforts to address the city’s shootings and killings.

The Kansas City Star reports that Lucas said he would like to promote city ordinances to stop easy access to illegal firearms, but a 2014 state law prohibits such local rules.

“Let us find a way to try to save the babies who are dying on our streets, each and every day,” Lucas said.

A bill filed by Kansas City Democrat Richard Brown to repeal the state’s prohibition on cities passing their own gun measures has not been assigned to a committee, meaning it won’t get considered this year. Lawmakers face a May 17 deadline to pass bills.

A bill sought by Kansas City officials to increase penalties for randomly firing a weapon - named Blair’s Law after a child killed by a falling bullet a decade ago - has passed the House this year. But it was attached to legislation that also allows concealed carry into churches and onto public transit, lowers the age for a concealed carry permit from 19 to 18 and declares gun shops essential businesses during emergency orders.

A sponsor of Blair’s Law, Kansas City Democrat Mark Sharp, wrote in an April newsletter that combining the bill with the other measures was its best chance of passage.

A proposal that Republicans have pushed for nearly a decade would declare federal gun laws and regulations “invalid” in Missouri, restrict local police from assisting federal agents enforcing those laws, and allow those who believe their Second Amendment rights have been violated to sue local law enforcement for $50,000. The House has passed the bill.

“They live in a bubble,” Sen. Barbara Washington, a Kansas City Democrat, said of Republicans in the legislature. “They clearly don’t see the danger.”

Washington said she fully believes in the Second Amendment and her family members hunt. But she said she lives in the city where she hears gunshots three or four times a week. She does not let her grandchildren play on the first level of her home for fear of gunfire.

Sen. Eric Burlison, a Battlefield Republican, said the two sides are unlikely to ever agree. He said Missouri’s high rate of gun deaths was “not in any way” connected to the state’s loosening of gun restrictions.

“One side ultimately believes the blame has to rest with the device,” he said. “The other side ultimately believes the device is useful and the blame rests with the individual.”

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