Doubling Down on Stupid: Overriding the veto of Senate Bill 656

Earlier today I stood inside the Rose Brooks Center, a tremendous facility in Kansas City. The Rose Brooks Center provides emergency shelter to women and children escaping life-threatening abuse. I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for the employees, volunteers and donors of Rose Brooks, because here in Kansas City, as we are seeing group violence go down as a result of the work of KC NoVA, domestic violence, sadly, is on the rise.

I may start to sound like a broken record, but as long as my hands are tied on the issue, I will continue to use my voice to urge lawmakers to use their heads. Rather than looking for solutions to our gun violence problem, our legislature is poised to double down on stupid and override Governor Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656.

If you liken our gun violence problem to lung cancer then this bill is the equivalent of lighting up a pack of cigarettes every night. It’s fueling the problem – certainly not making it better. There are several issues with this bill worth noting:

It completely eliminates the need to secure a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm. It also eliminates local sheriffs’ ability to determine who can and cannot carry a concealed weapon. According to a news article from MissouriNet, just last year alone, over 1,700 conceal and carry permits were turned down by sheriffs. There are people out that that local sheriffs KNOW should not be allowed to pack heat. A prime example would be domestic violence offenders. Allowing someone with a record of domestic violence offenses to carry concealed firearms has life and death implications.

But that is only the beginning.

This legislation endangers both our communities and our law enforcement who make every effort to serve & protect.

Today I was joined by several concerned members of the community who wanted to share with you why this is dangerous territory to be treading in. Senate Bill 656 is a crippling piece of legislation that puts the lives of women and children, like the ones who call Rose Brooks home, in further danger. In addition, it doesn’t take into consideration the needs of those on the front lines of ensuring their safety or the safety of any citizen, our law enforcement officers.

This bill would put law enforcement at risk because they would have no way of knowing if someone is carrying a concealed weapon.

As a father, it’s hard for me to imagine doing something as simple as letting my kids get behind the wheel of a car without having been trained how to operate a vehicle. I don’t know that there are many parents out there who would feel comfortable doing that either. And yet the consequences of this bill allow the a person at least 19 years of age to carry a concealed firearm without any proper training.

So, you need a driver’s license to drive, you have to be 21 to buy liquor and yet, you can carry a concealed weapon at age 19 with zero training. That is ludicrous on its face.

Domestic violence has steadily been on the rise in the State of Missouri. In 2015, Kansas City saw the most dramatic spike in domestic violence related homicides in years. More than 10 percent of the total homicides were the result of domestic violence incidents.

I want to urge the Missouri Legislature to uphold the veto on Senate Bill 656. We have to stop politicizing an issue that has claimed far too many lives. Protecting the integrity of the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that we should readily accept watching our children, friends and neighbors die at the hands of those who likely should not be carrying a gun in the first place.

We have to take a long, hard look at what is happening in our own cities and cities across America. We cannot protect women and children from their abusers if we are making it easier for those abusers to carry a concealed weapon that could end their lives before they receive the protection and social services they need. We cannot continue to put the lives of our law enforcement partners in danger as they seek to serve and protect our community. And we absolutely cannot sit back and watch as lawmakers make it easier for criminals to commit slow motion mass murder in our neighborhoods and our schools.

It’s time to realize that reducing crime in cities takes the help of EVERYONE at the federal, state, and local level.  Overturning the veto does nothing to make our neighborhoods or our residents safe. I urge legislators to use common sense on this issue and in doing so, help protect the lives of countless Missourians. And I’ll be watching tomorrow (Wednesday, September 14) to see who votes to support this bill and will be personally inviting them to join me in a ride along with KCPD through the neighborhoods in our city who have been most impacted by gun violence.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make lawmakers in Jefferson City realize what they’re doing to us and I urge you to call your lawmakers and ask them how this bill protects our citizens. You can find their contact info HERE.

The full text of Senate Bill 656 can be found here:


4 thoughts on “Doubling Down on Stupid: Overriding the veto of Senate Bill 656

  1. Thank you for your leadership on this issue. SB 656 is just all kinds of wrong from permitless concealed carry to stand your ground. I don’t understand why politicians say they support law enforcement and then ignore their wishes when it comes to legislation. Thank you for actually listening to them and putting the safety of all above political posturing. Good job Mr Mayor

  2. Mayor James, did you grow up with a gun in the house? Who taught you how to use and respect it? My pops taught me. He also taught me the value of life, especially my own. With that training, the foundation, in the home, people will own and operate firearms more responsibly.

  3. Respectfully, you are wrong. There are 10 other states that have similar laws and they haven’t seen the OK corral yet. The fact is that it is illegal for some classes of people to have guns. Why would a permit process keep people who would do you harm from carrying a gun. If you want to deter guns a crime make the penalties for committing crimes while armed more severe. People who will do you harm don’t get permits and don’t abide by laws.

  4. Dear Mayor,

    I commend you for speaking out against gun violence. This can be a political career ending subject. I feel a large part of the problem in Kansas City is fear to help the police. That by doing so a person with information is at risk of becoming a victim. This will not change, therefore let’s look at other ways to gather information. The area is definitely well known to law enforcement. Use everything you can, cameras, drones, cruisers, horseback, officers on foot, drug sniffing dogs, electronic surveillance, infiltration of life style. When there is talk of amending the constitution to combat violence, we are basically at war with this element. You need to help these neighborhoods stand up for themselves by starting to eradicate the perpetrators of these crimes. Remember when you walked the sidewalks and waved at friends sitting on their front porch in carefreeness and safety of knowing your neighbors. We need that in Kansas City, you can do this, I know you can. Thank you Mr. Mayor for your time.

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