So who will Missouri’s Republican politicians listen to today during the veto session in Jefferson City when it comes to responsible use of guns?
It should be Kansas City Mayor Sly James and law enforcement officials such as Police Chief Darryl Forté and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
It should not be the National Rifle Association and other gun lovers who are backing the proliferation of weapons and open-carry laws in the state.
The mayor took the battle to the state legislators on Monday when he held a press conference with the chief, prosecutor and others to support Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 656, a pro-gun bill from the 2014 session.
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The mayor made excellent points.
“I want more of our urban neighborhoods to return to that type of vibrant, family-centered environment I grew up in, but to do that we need to make streets in our urban core as safe as the suburbs,” he said. “Taking guns off the streets is key to that and Senate Bill 656 is a step in the wrong direction.”
It is indeed.
For example, it would prohibit cities such as Kansas City from passing rules to ban open-carry — something the city did recently. GOP politicians who love to talk about giving power to local officials should not take it away by overriding Nixon’s veto.
The bill also would lower the age for people to get conceal/carry permits from 21 to 19. That just puts more weapons in the hands of immature people.
And in yet another reprehensible move to allow firearms everywhere, it would promote the carrying of guns inside school buildings by teachers and administrators.
Nixon took a bold stand against the NRA by vetoing the bill. Missouri Republicans want to flex their muscles and show they can defeat the governor on this issue, even as they bow to the will of the NRA.
That’s the wrong move for the state and, more notably, for the people who live in it.
Here are a few other quotes from Monday’s press conference from top law enforcement officials, worth listening to in Jefferson City:
“We strive to serve and protect the people of Kansas City, and legislation like this makes our job more difficult,” said Forté. “The Police Department has worked very hard to reduce violent crime in our community, but legislation that could put more guns on the street and restrict law enforcement’s response to those weapons will hamper our efforts.”
More from the chief here on his blog.
“The Missouri legislature has shown it places a higher regard for politics than public safety,” said Baker. “There is a better common-sense approach to keeping our schools safer than arming overburdened school teachers.”