Mayor James brought together a wide range of stakeholders today to highlight the dangerous provisions included in Senate Bill 656, which Governor Nixon vetoed and the General Assembly is poised to override during tomorrow’s Veto Session. Stakeholders standing with the Mayor as he urged the General Assembly to sustain the veto included City Council members, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, Kansas City Police Chief Forte, Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green, and representatives of Mothers in Charge, Moms Demand Action, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
“When I grew up at 44th and Montgall, children rode bikes outside, there were no vacant homes, and neighbors knew each other. 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. Taking guns off the streets is key to that and Senate Bill 656 is a step in the wrong direction,” said Mayor Sly James. “The law enforcement, educators, and community leaders who joined me today sent a clear message to lawmakers in Jefferson City: Kansas City deserves better than the dangerous implications of Senate Bill 656 and we deserve safe neighborhoods.”
Some of the provisions of this bill that have received significant media attention are:
Lowers the age for a conceal and carry permit from 21 to 19
Prohibits housing authorities from barring lessees or their household members or guests from possessing a firearm
Allows a school district to designate one or more school teachers or administrators as a school protection officer who are authorized to carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device.
Prohibits cities from having local ordinances that ban the open carry of firearms (The Mayor led efforts to pass ordinance 140560 that bans the open carry of firearms within the city’s limits)
The full text of Senate Bill 656 can be found here: http://www.senate.mo.gov/
“We strive to serve and protect the people of Kansas City, and legislation like this makes our job more difficult,” said Chief Forte. “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.”
“The Missouri Legislature has shown it places a higher regard for politics than public safety,” said Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor. “There is a better common-sense approach to keeping our schools safer than arming overburdened school teachers.”