Gun Violence in Kansas City

Missouri has 3 of the 12 most dangerous cities in the nation, due to gun violence: Kansas City coming in at #5, St. Louis at #1 and Springfield at #12. This means that Missouri is home to 1/4 of the top most violent cities in the US. No other state is repeated in the top 12 except Missouri. Why?

I recently attended a rally to end gun violence in Kansas City complete with KC’s representative in the House, the new mayor, the prosecutor and others. Kansas City’s prosecutor explained that the public policy in the state of Missouri is dominated by politicians appealing to white and rural voters, who push for the current lack of gun regulations. However, the impact is felt deepest in Missouri’s cities, where high poverty is concentrated, and guns exacerbate this issue causing mass death not felt by the rural white populations who legislated for this lack of gun regulations.

“You deserve leaders who are not hopeless. It’s hard, but’s not hopeless. We must demand more of our leaders… We deserve better legislation. We deserve better representation than we have gotten,” Jean Peters Baker, prosecutor.

Missouri is a state where you need a license and training to buy a hunting gun to kill an animal, but no training or license to buy a conceal and carry weapon to be used around people. House Representative for Missouri and former mayor of Kansas City, Emanuel Cleaver, spoke about the fact that Missouri needs to start with requiring background checks, and people with a history of domestic violence must have restrictions placed on buying guns.

There is a zip code in Kansas City that is known as the “murder factory,” which supposedly has the most homicides in Missouri within just eight square miles. Whether this points to a real issue, or is in fact sensationalized and potentially racist rhetoric, I haven’t lived here long enough to know. What I do know is that gun violence has recently been occurring in more unpredictable places, such as a stray bullet that killed a uninvolved woman at the First Fridays public event in the downtown Crossroads a few weeks ago.

A developing story, it looks like Kansas City, Missouri has its work cut out for it. I hope to keep educating myself and get more involved in the effort toward building safer legislation.

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© Copyright 2019 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —