A triple homicide Tuesday night led to the same, sad refrain from Kansas City Mayor Sly James: “Idiots with guns” need to be stopped, he told the media.
James is absolutely correct. These armed people are killers who smear Kansas City’s reputation with their violent behavior.
But stopping them is easier said than done, as the mayor knows. After all, he’s been down this road before.
James has been talking about the need to get guns out of the hands of certain people for much of his four-plus years in office.
A big problem: The Missouri General Assembly and Second Amendment absolutists don’t want to crack down on gun violence or pass stricter laws regarding who can carry these weapons.
In fact, the tide has gone the other way in the GOP-controlled General Assembly, which has basically made it okay for almost anyone — including certain felons — to carry guns.
James isn’t backing down, and it appears his “idiots with guns” complaint is going to get worn out in coming months.
In fact, as this short time line shows, the mayor has had too many opportunities already to use the phrase:
▪ In May 2015, James lashed out at those responsible for the drive-by killing of a 3-year-old boy in a house.
“There’s no way that we’ve been able to come up with to prevent idiots from riding around in cars with high powered weapons shooting indiscriminately into homes and not caring where the bullets go. This is crazy.”
▪ In April 2014, the mayor testified before the General Assembly, saying the state’s loose gun rules made it difficult to keep guns “out of the hands of idiots and felons.”
▪ In March 2014, James backed tougher gun control laws.
“Nothing in those proposals limits the rights of reasonable, law-abiding citizens from owning guns, but we just might keep some idiot from getting an illegal gun from gunning down three year olds in their homes.”
▪ In June 2013, the mayor complained about Kansas City’s inability to pass its own gun laws.
“We want to change what happens on the streets of this city as related to guns and people shooting other people, give us the ability to do something to take the guns out of the hands of idiots who shouldn’t have them. It’s just that simple.”
James shouldn’t stop talking about the need for stricter gun control in Kansas City, allowing local officials to set some of their own standards.
For now, though, he’s butting his head against a big, brick wall erected by legislators in Jefferson City.