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Mass Shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Parade Underscores the Deadly Reality for Kansas City: Straddling Two States with Some of the Weakest and Most Dangerous Gun Laws is a Recipe for Tragedy

February 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY – On Wednesday, during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Championship parade in Kansas City, a shooting, reportedly broken out from an argument that escalated between several people, resulted in at least one person being shot and killed and an additional 22 victims who were shot and wounded. At least half of the shooting victims are under 16. Sadly, this tragedy is just a small sample of the gun violence plaguing communities in Kansas City. Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country – including lacking many foundational gun safety laws — and has resulted in the state having the seventh highest rate of gun deaths in the country.

Here’s what you should know about gun violence and gun laws in Missouri:

  • Kansas City continues to grapple with incredibly high rates of gun violence – 2023 was the deadliest year ever recorded in the city. 
  • The city is uniquely positioned, straddling two states with weak gun laws. Missouri and Kansas have some of the weakest gun laws in the country. Missouri has the seventh highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S. — Kansas has the 21st highest rate.
    • Both Missouri and Kansas lack all of the foundational gun safety laws, including requiring background checks for all firearm sales, and requiring a permit to carry concealed firearms in public. 
    • Missouri people as young as 19 to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit. The minimum age of firearm purchase in both states is below 21. 
  • Over the last decade, Missouri lawmakers have put lives in jeopardy by systematically chipping away at any and all gun safety measures and have emboldened extremists with their ‘guns everywhere’ agenda.
    • In 2007, Missouri repealed its permit to purchase law, which was the state required background check for handgun sales. Missouri passed a permitless firearm carry law in 2016. 
    • In 2021, against opposition from law enforcement, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a nullification law, which penalizes law enforcement who attempt to enforce federal gun safety protections. 
    • In March 2023, a federal court struck down Missouri’s dangerous nullification bill or “Second Amendment Preservation Act” as unconstitutional.
  • This session, Missouri lawmakers are attempting to further weaken gun laws by forcing firearms into places of worship and public transit. This bill currently awaits being called up for debate on the House floor.

“Our hearts are shattered that a day that should have been a celebration for Kansas City has turned into mass devastation,” said Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown. “This horrific tragedy is sadly the reality of living in a state where the majority of lawmakers have prioritized adherence to gun lobby extremism over the lives of their constituents. Missouri has some of the weakest, most out-of-touch gun laws in the country and continues to race to the bottom with even more dangerous attempts. The shooting on Wednesday was another tragic reminder of the urgent need for lawmakers to put the lives of their constituents first.”

“Kansas City continues to pay the daily, deadly toll of the reckless decisions of extremists in the Missouri state legislature, who’ve repealed lifesaving gun safety laws and continue to handicap the city’s efforts to combat its gun violence crisis,” said Kristin Bowen, a volunteer with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Strong gun laws save lives and we refuse to sit idly by while the legislature continues its reckless and ceaseless attacks on our safety.”

Despite taking steps to combat gun violence, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Kansas City lawmakers and law enforcement have been held back by extremists. For nearly a century, the Kansas City police department has been controlled by the state rather than the city. This relinquishment of law enforcement power is used by extremists in the state legislature to politically control the ability for the city to make public safety decisions on behalf of their constituents. Capitalizing on this model last legislative session, Republican state lawmakers introduced similar legislation to grab control of the St. Louis police department. This type of legislation is a failed ploy by state Republican lawmakers, who are specifically targeting St. Louis, to prevent elected officials from passing police accountability measures that would protect communities from gun violence. 

Missouri’s neighboring state of Kansas also has incredibly weak gun laws, and extremist lawmakers in Kansas have spent the last decade attempting to repeal the remaining gun safety measures in the state. In 2015, Kansas passed a permitless carry law—allowing people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public without training or background checks. While the legislature did pass a bill to prohibit individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence from purchasing firearms in 2018, lawmakers have since repeatedly blocked attempts to pass a bill that would require abusers to relinquish their firearms. In recent years, lawmakers have introduced several dangerous pieces of legislation to weaken Kansas’ gun laws even further, including passing a bill this session to require children enrolled in firearm safety training programs in public schools to go through the National Rifle Association’s “Eddie Eagle” program

This year, Kansas lawmakers are going even further. Rather than prioritizing a secure storage bill which has yet to receive a hearing, lawmakers are prioritizing a dangerous resolution that poses a direct threat to Kansas public safety laws by paving a way to strip Kansas of its few gun safety laws. If adopted, a strict scrutiny judicial standard would threaten to eliminate Kansas’s most crucial public safety laws, including prohibitions on gun possession by convicted felons and domestic abusers. 

More information about gun violence in Missouri is available here.More information about gun violence in Kansas is available here.

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