YAEL T. ABOUHALKAH

Mayor James blasts Missouri’s GOP lawmakers on gun control

Updated: 2013-06-30T23:30:50Z

By YAEL T. ABOUHALKAH

The Kansas City Star

In fiery, gutsy and passionate calls for gun control, Mayor Sly James is excoriating Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature for refusing to give the city power to help reduce violence in Kansas City.

This is the kind of tough-talking, plain-speaking mayor Kansas Citians ought to be glad they elected, especially after the recent spate of shootings that have killed and maimed too many victims.

• In a lengthy blog Thursday night, James included this line showing his utter frustration with the situation:

“You see, the Missouri legislature has made it legally impossible for cities like Kansas City or St. Louis to do anything substantive to stem the tsunami of illegal guns into the hands of criminal idiots on city streets.”

Indeed, the General Assembly in the recent session passed inane laws that actually loosened gun laws.

• Earlier this week, James bluntly told 41 Action News that Kansas Citians couldn’t count on GOP lawmakers in Jefferson City to help the city combat gun violence.

“There’s no appetite in that legislature, across the board, to do this,” he said. “Face it. The next time I go and talk to a legislator about maybe trying to introduce gun legislation, you ought to come with me and look at the look on their face when I raise the subject.”

• And late Thursday, on his Twitter account — @mayorslyjames — James sounded irritated by the entire situation.

He was asked by someone “how can normal KC’ians help? (Besides at the polls, of course)”

James replied: “Contact your state rep. 0 illusions of change”

To be clear, James didn’t say in his blog that gun control would solve all or even many of the city’s violent crime troubles.

He also talked about about other ways to improve the lives of Kansas Citians with better education, for example, all to reduce the possibility that kids would turn to a life of crime later on.

James also promoted several of his ideas on gun control, tried-and-tested ways to reduce illegal weapons.

They are to require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers; mandatory reporting and identification of stolen guns; create gun courts to “vigorously and swiftly prosecute idiots who use illegal guns in criminal acts”; and ban assault weapons in vehicle passenger compartments.

James didn’t make any friends with Republican lawmakers this week, at least on this issue.

But he expressed well the views of so many residents who would love for the mayor and City Council to have the power to do something about the gun violence afflicting this city.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. He blogs at voices.kansascity.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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