Before bringing down the gavel Thursday on the first Kansas City Council meeting since the Las Vegas massacre, Mayor Sly James offered brief but bitter and despairing comments on gun violence.
“Every time we go through this we set a record,” said James, referring to the 59 deaths at a country music festival. “More and more people get killed and more and more people are disgusted and less and less is done.”
James has been outspokenly critical of Missouri gun laws during his six years in office, traveling to Jefferson City annually to lobby the Republican-controlled legislature for tighter restrictions. Last year, he angered GOP lawmakers by describing them as poised to “double down on stupid” by cutting training and permit requirements to carry a concealed gun in public.
“As we are fairly helpless to do anything about the gun laws in this state, it should not be lost on us that these things are escalating,” James told the council. “And we have a country so divided on so many basic issues and everybody is armed, and everybody is tense, that we can expect more of the same.”
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James said he remained committed to sensible gun laws. But without limiting access to firearms, especially to the young, the city was likely to remain plagued by “slow motion mass murder.” There have been 152 homicides in the Kansas City metro area so far this year.
“I don’t think we ought to ever forget that the most common instrumentality of death and mayhem, particularly in the African American community, is a gun in the hands of an idiot. And we don’t seem to do anything about keeping guns out of the hands of idiots.”
With that, James adjourned the meeting.
“That’s my rant for the day,” he said.