Friday, January 07, 2022

MO: Police Blame Freedom to Carry for Gun Thefts in Kansas City

In a recent article aired on National Public Radio affiliate, KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City police were given a platform to blame increasing crime rates on the restoration of Second Amendment rights. One of the first things noted was an increase in the reports of firearms stolen from vehicles in Kansas City, MO.


In 2021, 613 guns were stolen from vehicles, compared with 498 in 2020, Capt. Sean Hutcheson said in a presentation to the Kansas City Police Board on Dec. 14. Police know the weapons are being used in crimes, he said.

“One of the drivers of our violence in Kansas City is easy access to guns,” Hutcheson said. “And since the early 2000s, a lot of our gun laws in the state have been relaxed. So people are more likely to be carrying guns and especially in their vehicles.”

Hutcheson makes a major jump in logic, asserting, without evidence, that "easy access to guns" is  "One of the drivers of our violence in Kansas City..." There are numerous studies which show mere access to guns is not a driver of illegal violence.

The clearest indicator of illegal violence, murder, is not associated with rates of gun ownership.  This is an attempt to place responsibility on inanimate objects rather than on personal decisions, ethics, and morality. 

Missouri law applies to all of Missouri. These problems seem unique to particular areas of Kansas City.

There are many areas in Missouri which have high gun ownership (access to guns) and low murder rates.

The KCUR article notes where many thefts of guns are taking place:

The hotspots for vehicle thefts are the city’s entertainment districts, Hutcheson said, including Westport, the Power & Light District, the Crossroads District and the 18th & Vine District.

 The police have video of what is driving the theft of guns in cars in this area. It is groups of criminals hitting places where they know people are being strongly pushed into leaving their defensive firearm in a vehicle.

Cathy Dean, a police board commissioner, said she’s seen videotape showing patrons trying to get into bars being caught by metal detectors revealing a weapon. The patron is then told to put their gun back in their car. That’s when the thieves strike, she said.

Hutcheson said groups are hitting 20 to 30 cars at a time, looking only for weapons.

“We have video. One person will just go and just pop windows and the guy behind him is going opening the door, checking the seat, the glove box, that’s it. These guns are unsecured in these vehicles,” he said.

There are obvious possible fixes to this problem which do not violate anyone's rights. Places which serve alcohol could provide lock boxes for guns. Places which serve alcohol could allow armed people to carry in their establishment. Those places which refuse, could be advertised as unfriendly to Second Amendment rights. 

Police could use "bait" cars and guns, combined with strict consequences for those who are committing these crimes. 

Signs could be placed informing people of the high risk of gun theft from vehicles in the area.  Video monitoring with  police "quick response" teams could be used to arrest perpetrators.

There are several "gun free zones established by Missouri statute 571.106. Under Missouri law, managers of establishments who serve intoxicating liquors determine who may or may not carry in their establishment.   

Places which serve intoxicating liquor are conditional gun free zones in Missouri. From 571.106 (7):

  (7)  Any establishment licensed to dispense intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises, which portion is primarily devoted to that purpose, without the consent of the owner or manager. 


I suspect most of the offenders are minors of specially protected groups, which the police view as dangerous to arrest and prosecute. 

Blaming "access to guns" is an easy out for political decisions to not aggressively  arrest  and  prosecute the criminals who are doing the stealing.

A very local problem in Kansas City is being used as a platform to attack Second Amendment rights in all of Missouri and in the USA.

Perhaps readers who are familiar with Kansas City can add local knowledge to enlighten us.

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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