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Kansas City officials ask Governor Nixon to Veto Gun Bill

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With the deadline to veto, sign or abstain just one month away, some Kansas City officials are speaking out about the controversial “stand your ground” bill. Mayor Sly James, Police Chief Darryl Forté and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker sent Governor Jay Nixon a letter on Tuesday calling for him to veto SB656.

The bill would eliminate the need for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in areas where they are not prohibited. It would also establish a “stand your ground” law which removes the duty to retreat before using self-defense.

In the letter, the officials called the bill dangerous for Kansas City, which they write is consistently ranked as one of the ten most violent in America, and wrote that “allowing guns to be carried without a permit will undoubtedly put our citizens in danger and invite more gun violence onto our streets.”

Kansas City Republican Representative Chuck Basye, who has supported the bill since its early stages, says that while the call to veto is based on the city’s high gun violence numbers, the bill is meant to address the statewide issue.

“They might see it a little differently because of what they deal with all the time with the gun violence, but that’s usually people who are behaving in a criminal manner and that is not what this bill is intended to do,” Basye says.

“Stand your ground” laws have been in the national spotlight ever since the shooting death of unarmed African American Florida teen Trayvon Martin in 2012. Despite its controversial nature, the bill passed through passed the Republican-led Missouri Senate with a 24-8 vote. The House then gave it final approval with a vote of 114-36 to send it to the governor’s desk.

Basye says that if the bill is vetoed, a decision on whether to override the veto will be made after the August primary. Nixon’s spokesperson said that the governor is still reviewing the bill and hasn’t made a decision. He has until mid-July to decide whether to sign it.